Netherlands vs Mexico
World Cup: Round of 16
17:00 KO; 29/06/14
Netherlands will meet Mexico in the last 16 of the World Cup, with a potentially generous passage to the semi-finals opening up for the winner.
The winner of today’s encounter will face either Greece or Costa Rica in the last eight, and both would start as favourites against two teams who have beaten the odds to get this far in Brazil.
Group stage success
Holland are aiming to go one better than four years ago, when they fell agonisingly short in extra-time against Spain in the final. They appear even better this time around, with Louis van Gaal’s side cruising through a tough qualifying Group B.
They put the Spanish ghost to bed in emphatic style in their opening group game, winning 5-1, and then beat Australia 3-2 to ensure their progression to this stage. Victory over Chile made sure they finished top of the table, avoiding a trickier encounter against Brazil.
Mexico, meanwhile, finished behind the hosts on goal difference in Group A, picking up a draw against the South Americans to go alongside wins against Croatian and Cameroon. It all means this could be one of the games of the round
The teams are in…
Cillessen, Vlaar, De Vrij, Blind, De Jong, Van Persie (c), Sneijder, Robben, Verhaegh, Kuyt, Wijnaldum.
Ochoa, Rodriguez, Salcido, Marquez (c), Herrera, Layun, Dos Santos, Moreno, Guardado, Peralta, Aguilar.
Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben are again the players tasked with firing the Dutch to the quarter-finals, having torn defences apart already this summer. Dirk Kuyt adds stability to the line-up, as well as experience.
For Mexico, Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez is on the bench, meaning he won’t get the chance to impress his new club boss Van Gaal from the start. Oribe Peralta is charged with scoring the all-important goals.
Netherlands have the upper hand in the most recent meetings between the sides, with a brace from Van Persie making the difference in a 2010 friendly. Hernandez scored for Mexico, but it finished 2-1 to the Dutch.
But, the last time the teams met in World Cup competition, it ended 2-2 at France ’98. Ronald de Boer and Phillip Cocu scored for the Dutch, but an injury-time equaliser from Luis Hernandez secured Mexico’s qualification into the last 16 that time around.
That’s where the journey will end for one of these sides today.