Join soccerly to save and share the best soccer stories
Sign up with Facebook
By login in with Facebook you agree on the terms and conditions specified here

 
 
The Netherlands, for the second time in this World Cup, came from behind in the final seconds to pull out a win when it seemed overtime was inevitable.
Patience, key virtue for Netherlands to move past Mexico 
06/29/2014
 
(L-R) Wesley Sneijder of Holland, Arjan Robben of Holland during the 1/8 final match between The ...

This is what soccer is all about. The final seconds are some of the most important, and some of the most intense moments in all of sports. The Netherlands, for the second time in this World Cup, came from behind in the final seconds to pull out a win when it seemed overtime was inevitable. 

As the match began, both sides played a patient style, using short passes to assess their opponent's tendencies. Early in the match, the devastating injury to Holland's key midfielder, Nigel de Jong allowed Mexico to gain control of the midfield. The impact he makes controlling the midfield and linking the ball between the front three would be difficult for Holland to overcome. Until the questionable substitution halfway through the second by Miguel Herrera, Mexico would take advantage of de Jong's absence.

The difference in play with the change in personnel was obvious. Mexico used their wings to drive into the offensive third oftentimes taking shots from distance or crossing into a box that the Netherlands defended well. The penetration was lacking as the Dutch closed off most of the alleys leading toward the net. In turn, Holland could not find their offensive stride for the majority of the first half, save for some deep plays dropping at the feet of Robin van Persie or Arjen Robben. None of those chances came to fruition, including the no-call on Robben when he was tackled in Mexico's 18-yard box.

Through the duration of the game, El Tri's defense played Robben correctly, shutting him down by surrounding him with two or three players, giving him no option to drive forward, or find an outlet toward goal. He was often dispossessed or had to drop the ball back, allowing Mexico to reset before the Netherlands could drive the ball forward, regaining their form in the midfield and again allowing them to assert themselves with control of the trenches.

The second half began much like the first. Both teams gauged any sort of tactical changes that coaches had made during the halftime break. Mexico didn't seem to change much as they knew they had the momentum throwing their wings forward, and barraging Holland goalkeeper Jasper Cillissen with shots from distance. For the most part, he was brilliant. He stayed on his line expecting the shot from outside of the box, until Giovani dos Santos was able to split Dutch defenders taking a shot from around 25 feet. Cillissen seemed to expect his defenders to close on Santos before he was able to turn the ball toward net. The breakdown in communication would prove to be a dagger in the heart of Holland as Dos Santos put the ball through to the goal, giving Mexico the lead.

Around the 64th minute, the Netherlands had regained their form, knowing that their doom could be imminent. Bruno Martins-Indi had realized that he would have to step in for de Jong and attempt to control the midfield. Although it was more from the winger position, he finally was able to find his feet, feeding the ball to Robben who was much more active in the second half.  Knowing that Van Persie had been quiet all match long, the responsibility shifted to Robben and Wesley Sneijder. Martins-Indi and company found Robben several times, exploiting the injury to Hector Moreno just before half.  

It was questionable when Herrera subbed in a striker in the 75th rather than a defensive style midfielder, or a defender. Ultimately, it would be their downfall. Louis van Gaal obviously saw the ineptitude of Van Persie and immediately threw in Klaus Huntelaar for Van Persie. Huntelaar, who had not seen the field all World Cup, was fresh and ready, and it would be obvious.  

A change in form, and a tactical change from Van Gaal during the cooling break gave the Netherlands a new spark. They began to control the game, easing their way to their inevitable victory. Huntelaar helped assist the goal off of Robben's corner that Sneijder would eventually strike from the outside of his foot. Holland had been threatening for the previous ten minutes, and the goal would finally give them a sigh of relief.  Mexico, who had been pathetic on set-pieces in the past, allowed the Dutch space to find the rebound. They bunched around the ball attempting to clear it, rather than marking the Dutch surrounding the box, which would give Sneijder the chance to strike the ball. Guillermo Ochoa, who had been stellar all match, was frozen knowing he could do nothing to stop the rocket from Sneijder.

Robben had been fouled once in the box that ended up a no-call from the ref and also flopped once in the box, which he apologized for. Then  he was fouled again in stoppage time. Mexico was two minutes from overtime before Sneijder's equalizer, and then the foul. It was the right call, as Robben was challenged at the end line. Huntelaar would take the shot, and rightfully so.  He would convert for the win.  

Mexico was in control most of the match, controlling possession 55%-45%, which is uncharacteristic of the Dutch. The shots fell in favor of the Oranje, but Ochoa was yet again on top of his game. A desperate Holland team would prevail in the end. Their top notch tactical changes and daring sub of all-star Van Persie in the end would push the Netherlands through to the next round.

 
3
   
More stories
 
6
   
 
1
   
 
0
   
 
2
   
 
2
   
 
1
   
 
1
   
 
1
   
 
0
   
 
1