Mexico Loses A Heartbreaker
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Futbol can be cruel. We saw how cruel it was when Chile almost beat host country and tournament favorites Brazil. If it weren't for a couple of crossbar and post strikes, the Chileans would be in the quarterfinals. but this is futbol. It was Mexico this time who suffered the cruelness of futbol. The Mexicans lost 2-1 after leading the game for 88', and it was an Arjen Robben dive that cost them the game.
The first half was mostly dominated by Mexico. Mexico had several chances, which included some miscues by Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen. The only real chance that the Netherlands had was on an Arjen Robben take-down in the box, which definitely could of earned Holland a penalty. Take a look for yourself:
Mexico started the second half with the same intensity, but this time it yielded results. The first goal came when Giovani dos Santos chested the ball down to his left foot while warding off Dutch defender Daley Blind, and ripped a shot with his left foot passed the struggling Cillessen.
As the nerves of Dutch fans rose, so did the heat in Fortaleza. The 86°F heat warranted two water breaks, which were the first of the tournament (the Portugal-USA water break was unofficial according to FIFA). But as the Dutch turned up the heat on the Mexicans, El Tri goalkeeper Memo Ochoa continued his stellar World Cup performance, making two great saves on a point blank header from Stefan de Vrij and a rare right footed shot by Arjen Robben.
They continued the pressure, and then on an 88th minute corner, substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar headed a ball out that found a lonely Wesley Sneijder who crushed it into the back of the net.
It was surely looking like the second extra-time affair in as many games in the knock out round. But the referee and Arjen Robben thought otherwise. The Bayern Munich man waltzed his way along the end line and fell to the ground earning a penalty in the 92nd minute. It was a close call, but Robben definitely sold the “apparent” foul. In our opinion it wasn’t enough to award a 92nd minute penalty in a tie game in the Round of 16. But Portuguese referee Pedro Proença blew his whistle, giving Jan Huntelaar a chance to win it for the Netherlands from the penalty spot.
Jan Huntelaar went on to bury the penalty and Mexico’s hopes of advancing to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986.
It was a heartbreaking result for Mexico, who in our estimation deserved to win the game. Robben probably should have been awarded a penalty in the first half, but the second half penalty was soft. Arjen Robben is known for diving and he had no problem continuing the trend in this match. The Netherlands showed that they aren’t power that beat Spain in the first round of the tournament, while Mexico showed that, under Miguel Herrera, El Tri are on the rise. They looked poised this entire tournament and it’s a shame to seem them eliminated based on a questionable call.
As for Netherlands, they will face the winner of Greece and Costa Rica. They will be a likely favorite versus either club, but they have their own issues to figure out. What will be the health of Nigel de Jong? Can Robin van Persie get back to the level he played at earlier in the tournament? Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen looked suspect at times, so will he get back into form? They can be as good as anyone in this tournament, but perhaps the Mexicans gave other teams a blueprint to bring the Flying Dutchman to the ground.