• Netherlands 2-1 Mexico, World Cup last 1 6

Van Gaal's Dutch profit as late drama stuns Mexico

ESPN staff
June 29, 2014
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar came on as a substitute for Robin van Persie © Getty Images

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored an injury-time penalty to complete a dramatic comeback for Netherlands in a 2-1 win over Mexico and book their place in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup.

Huntelaar, who came on as a 76th-minute substitute, scored the winning goal from the penalty spot deep in injury time after Rafael Marquez brought down Arjen Robben in the area.

Giovani dos Santos opened the scoring for Mexico in sweltering conditions in Fortaleza, only for Wesley Sneijder and Huntelaar to net late goals and set up a meeting with the winner of Costa Rica and Greece.

Giovani dos Santos gave Mexico a second-half lead © Getty Images

The victory marked the first time in World Cup knockout round history that a team trailing in the 88th minute won in regulation. It also saw Mexico's dreadful run of second round losses continue; they have now lost at the last 16 stage at every World Cup finals since 1994.

Mexico enjoyed a bright start to the game, which featured special cooling breaks for the first time at a World Cup finals. Miguel Layun drove a cross wide on 14 minutes, before Hector Herrera dragged an effort off target and then Dos Santos drew a save from the legs of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.

Robin van Persie spurned an opportunity for Netherlands in the 27th minute, slicing wide, and just before half-time Robben had a strong shout for a penalty turned down following challenges by Marquez and Hector Moreno.

Mexico took the lead three minutes into the second half when Dos Santos unleashed a left-footed shot from outside the area which flashed beyond the reach of Cillessen.

A combination of Guillermo Ochoa and the woodwork denied Stefan de Vrij after the defender diverted goalwards from close range only to see ball pushed onto the post by the Mexico goalkeeper.

Netherlands pushed for an equaliser and their pressure told with two minutes of normal time remaining, as Sneijder thumped home from Huntelaar's headed assist.

Sneijder's goal in the 88th minute was the latest-ever Dutch equaliser at a World Cup and his sixth in World Cup history.

The comeback was complete three minutes into added time as Huntelaar tucked in from the penalty spot following Marquez's trip on Robben. As the final whistle was blown, the Dutch players bounced joyously around the pitch while their Mexican counterparts fell to the floor, unable to comprehend the final eight minutes of the match.

"We didn't keep the ball, we weren't calm and we didn't hold the ball. We gave away our initiatives," Mexico coach Herrera said.

Wesley Sneijder levelled the scores with an 88th-minute thunderbolt © Getty Images
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close