Just two minutes away from clinching a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals, Mexico suffered a late, gut-wrenching one-two punch as the Netherlands came from behind for a 2-1 Round of 16 victory with the game-winner coming on a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time.
Miguel Herrera's men were cruising 1-0 on a 48th minute Giovani Dos Santos goal, but they perhaps started to defend a little too early and Wesley Sneijder capitalized with an 88th minute equalizer. That was followed by a Klaas Jan Huntelaar 94th minute penalty kick after former New York Red Bulls defender Rafael Marquez brought down Arjen Robben in the box.
ONE-TWO KNOCKOUT PUNCH: Mexico were defending deep late in the match and the Netherlands made them pay when Sneijder was left unmarked and ripped a rocket into the back of the net (WATCH IT HERE). And even though everyone thought the weather conditions would get to them, the Dutch kept pressing at 1-1 and Robben earned the penalty kick that Huntelaar buried (WATCH IT HERE).
Invisible for 3.9 games, but Sneijder gonna Sneijder #NED— Adam Digby (@Adz77) June 29, 2014
MEMO'S MOJO: You had a feel Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa might get to that penalty kick based on the game he was having. In the 57th minute he used his face to a deflect a Stefan De Vrij shot off the line and against the right post for another miracle save this tournament. And he stopped a point-blank Robben shot in the 74th minute.
Next month's Time Magazine cover: pic.twitter.com/SthKpWafTw— Nikolas Postinger (@nikpostinger) June 29, 2014
ROBBEN SHOULD'VE HAD ANOTHER PENALTY: For all the bad calls Mexico had to play through in this World Cup, they finally got a break on Sunday. In first-half stoppage time replays showed Robben was kicked by two Mexican players in the penalty area -- Rafael Marquez first, and then Hector Moreno -- but referee Pedro Proenca looked the other way. Moreno was injured on the play and had to leave the match at halftime.
GIO COMES THROUGH: Mexico got their looks in the first half, but it was looking like it could be one of those days for their forwards. Until three minutes after the break when Giovani Dos Santos came up with an angled, left-footed blast between the Netherlands' two defensive midfielders. WATCH IT HERE.
TIME OUTS: The referee literally signalled a "T" at 31:16 of the first half for players to take a water break, which ESPN used to squeeze in a few commercials. The break lasted 3 minutes and 40 seconds that were made up during stoppage time (4mins). Another break came at 75:20 in the 2nd half and that lasted exactly three minutes (6mins of stoppage time). Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal says he took advantage of that last break to make a tactical adjustment that helped result in the equalizer.
Thanks, Bob Ley, for specifying that it’s 97 degrees Fahrenheit in Fortaleza, Brazil, and not 97 degrees Celsius. (206.6 F)— Mike Aparicio (@peruvianidol) June 29, 2014
Its still hotter in Qatar right now than it is in Fortaleza and its just past 8pm at night. #midnightkickoffs— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) June 29, 2014
EARLY SUB: It wasn't looking good for the Netherlands when they had to burn an early sub. Dutch holding midfielder Nigel De Jong, was forced out of the match with a groin issue in the 9th minute. Centerback Daley Blind moved up to take his spot and Bruno Martins Indi came off the bench to occupy Blind's place in the three-man centerback corps
Martins Indi realises he has to replace de Jong after just 10 minutes. pic.twitter.com/hUeBkNQSoH— Artur Petrosyan (@arturpetrosyan) June 29, 2014
De Jong is injured , Martins Indi comes on pic.twitter.com/yRjFMcPGbS— GeniusFootball (@GeniusFootball) June 29, 2014
MAN OF THE MATCH: Guillermo Ochoa, goalkeeper Mexico. He let up two goals in the end, but he was the star of the match until the 88th minute. He wasn't at fault on either of the goals, however. There was nothing he could do on the Dutch equalizer and he simply guessed the wrong way on the penalty kick.