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The Netherlands scored two late goals to deny Mexico a place in the World Cup quarterfinals

By Brian McMahon,
After leading for most of the second half, the Dutch scored twice within the span of five minutes to earn a 2-1 victory

The Netherlands scored two late goals within the span of five minutes to send Mexico home after the round of 16 for the sixth straight World Cup.

Wesley Sneijder struck in the 87th minute, and then Klaas Jan Huntelaar converted a penalty in the 94th to deny Mexico a place in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986.

Mexico outplayed the Netherlands for much of the first half as both teams had to deal with the sweltering heat in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Dutch star man, Arjen Robben, had a case for a penalty in the closing moments of the first half, but the Portuguese referee let the play continue and we went into half time with a 0-0 scoreline.

Giovani dos Santos scored his first goal for Mexico in two years just three minutes into the second half, and it was well worth the wait. The Villarreal midfielder struck a left footed shot with a Dutch defender all over him and put the ball in the bottom left corner of the net. Even Kobe Bryant was impressed with the strike.

Guillermo Ochoa, who made several dazzling saves in Mexico's 0-0 draw with Brazil, was at is again against the Dutch, making a quick reflex save in the 57th minute to keep the Mexicans in front.


Image courtesy of INFphoto.com
After not being able to create ample opportunities for much of the second half, the Dutch substituted their talented striker and captain Robin van Persie for Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the 76th minute. Dutch manager, Louis van Gaal, looks like a genius as the sub had a hand in both goals.

In the 87th minute, Huntelaar headed down a corner kick to Wesley Sneijder who powerfully struck the ball into the bottom left corner of the net giving Ochoa no chance at the save.

Robben, who was denied a penalty in the first half, was rewarded one in stoppage time, though this time he may have gone down a bit too easily.

Huntelaar, who plays his club soccer for Schalke 04 in the Bundesliga, stepped up to take the penalty with a place in the quarterfinals on the line. Ochoa guessed wrong as Huntelaar's shot found its way into the back of the net to give the Netherlands a 2-1 lead with only a few moments left.

There were "cooling breaks" called in the 32nd and 75th minutes so all the players could get some water to help battle the 97 degree heat.

The Netherlands will now play the winner Costa Rica vs. Greece, who play the second game of the day at 4:00 p.m.

The Netherlands will be in the quarterfinals for the fourth time since 1994, which may come as a surprise to BleacherReport who did not predict they would get past the round of 16.

 

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