2014 World Cup Round of 16: Mexico vs Netherlands

2014 World Cup – Round of 16
Mexico vs The Netherlands
Estádio Governador Plácido Aderaldo Castelo – Fortaleza, Brazil
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision

Money Line: Mexico +285 / Netherlands +106 / Draw +235
Point Line: Netherlands -0.5 +106 / Mexico +0.5 -126
Total: under 2.5 -135 / over 2.5 +115
Odds to advance to quarterfinals: Netherlands -193 / Mexico +163
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

The Netherlands in favored against Mexico in the World Cup round of 16 match Sunday in Fortaleza.
The Netherlands in favored against Mexico in the World Cup round of 16 match Sunday in Fortaleza.

The Netherlands has never won the World Cup but have been runners up three times, including in 2010 to Spain in South Africa.  The orange clad Dutch fans hope this year is the year they finally shed the bridesmaid label that has haunted them throughout their 10 World Cup appearances. They take on Mexico in the round of 16 Sunday in Fortaleza. The winner will face either Costa Rica or Greece in the quarterfinals.

When the draw came out in December for the World Cup, Group B was widely considered one of the most treacherous of the 8 groups with defending champion Spain, runner up the Netherlands, a very good Chile  team and dark horse Australia. The Netherlands dominated the group with three wins over Spain 5-1, Australia 3-2 and last Monday against Chile 2-0 in Sao Paulo. The Dutch scored 10 goals and only allowed 3 in three matches.  Only Colombia who had a goal differential of +7 as well and France (+6) even approached the dominance of the Netherlands in their respective groups.

Mexico is making their 15th appearance in the World Cup and has lost in the round of 16 in their last 5 trips to the World Cup. At least Mexico avoids Argentina this year who knocked them out in 2006 and 2010. Mexico was placed in Group A with host nation Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon. Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 and played Brazil to a scoreless draw in which Mexico could have lost 3-0 or even 4-0 if not for a heroic effort from keeper Guillermo Ochoa. That set up a winner take all match against Croatia last Monday in Recife for second place in the group and a spot in the knockout round. At 72 minutes in the score was still 0-0, and since Mexico only needed a draw there was the distinct possibility that El Tri could advance to the knockout round having scored only one goal in three matches. However, from that point on Mexico scored 3 goals in 10 minutes to take command of the match. Croatia added a meaningless goal late to make the final score 3-1. Mexico and Brazil both finished with 7 points but Brazil clinched first with a goal differential of +5 to +3 for Mexico.

The Netherlands leads the series 3-2-1 against Mexico. The last two meetings were friendlies and tune-ups for the World Cup in both 2006 and 2010. The Dutch won both meetings by identical 2-1 scores. This is the second meeting in the World Cup as they were both in the same group in 1998. Mexico rallied from a 2-0 deficit with 15 minutes left to salvage a 2-2 draw in that match.

The Netherlands is coached by Louis van Gaal. He will use a 3-4-1-2 line-up. Forward Robin Van Persie returns to the line-up after missing the Chile match for too many yellow cards. Defender Bruno Martins Indi is expected to play after missing the Chile game with a concussion. Van Persie and forward Arjen Robben have scored 6 of the 10 goals so far for the Netherlands, each with 3. Memphis Depay started in place of Van Persie and has 2 goals but he is expected to come off the bench against Mexico. Keeper Jasper Cillisen has allowed 3 goals in three games.

The Netherlands has 10 goals and allowed 3 but surprisingly none of the goals have come off set pieces. All 10 were open play goals though. The Dutch have 41 shots including 26 on target. The Netherlands are 9/27 on crosses and have been called offsides 7 times. The Dutch have 6 blocks and 6 saves. They have completed 899 passes.

Mexico is coached by Miguel Herrera, who became a YouTube sensation for his exuberant celebration after the win against Croatia. Mexico will use a 3-5-2 formation. The good news is Mexico has only conceded one goal so far, but aside for the 10 minute 3 goal extravaganza against Croatia, they have only one other goal. Midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez is suspended and will be replaced by Carlos Salcido. Defenders Rafael Marquez and Francisco Rodriguez headline a strong backline. Forwards Oribe Peralta and Giovani Dos Santos are the best scoring threats. Javier Hernandez could provide a spark off the bench if needed for Mexico. Marquez, Peralta and Hernandez have all scored for Mexico so far in the tournament. Ochoa will have to continue his lights out play in the net  if Mexico is to have any chance against the high scoring Dutch.

Mexico is outscoring teams 4-1 and has one goal on a set piece. The other 3 goals were in open play. Mexico has attempted 34 shots with only 15 on target. They are 13/51 on crosses and have been called offisides 6 times. Mexico has 8 blocks and 8 saves. Mexico has won 9 of 42 tackles. Mexico has completed 1,082 passes.

Mexico has been playing great defense in the World Cup, but the offense has struggled for the most part. Mexico will have to play a similar game to their draw against Brazil, another high scoring team. However, the Netherlands has scored more goals than any other team so far in the tournament. Mexico has a strong back line but I don’t think they can stop the Dutch dynamic duo of Van Persie and Robben. The Netherlands wins 2-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.

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