Featured Matches
Previous
Colorado
Chivas USA
Jul 25, 2014 1:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Morelia
Atlas
Jul 25, 2014 12:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Santos
Cruz Azul
Jul 25, 2014 2:30 AM GMT
Game Details
Gimnasia La Plata
Argentinos Juniors
Jul 25, 2014 9:10 PM GMT
Game Details
Newell's Old Boys
Talleres de Córdoba
Jul 25, 2014 12:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Standard Liege
Royal Charleroi SC
Jul 25, 2014 6:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Queen's Park
Berwick Rangers
Jul 25, 2014 6:45 PM GMT
Game Details
Shakhter Karagandy
FK Atlantas
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
Hapoel Be'er Sheva
RNK Split
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
MyPa
Dinamo Minsk
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Omonia Nicosia
FK Buducnost Podgorica
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
FK Sarajevo
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Kuban Krasnodar
Sillamae Kalev
5
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 9 - 0
Game Details
Inter Baku
Elfsborg
(3) 0
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
IFK Goteborg
Györi ETO FC
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Lech Poznan
Kalju
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Liberec
MFK Kosice
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 0
Game Details
Tromso
Víkingur Gøta
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Petrolul Ploiesti
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
SV Grödig Amateure
Cukaricki Belgrade
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 2
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
Bursaspor
(4) 0
(1) 0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
AIK Solna
Linfield
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
CSKA Sofia
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Shakhter Soligorsk
Derry City
5
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
FC Vaduz
Ruch Chorzow
0
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Esbjerg FB
Kairat Almaty
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 1
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
FC Zestafoni
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 0
Game Details
FC Groningen
Aberdeen
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
FC Zorya Luhansk
Laci
2
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Hapoel Tel Aviv
Astana 1964
1
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Sligo
Rosenborg
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Zawisa Bydgoszcz
S.V. Zulte Waregem
1
3
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Vojvodina
AS Trencin
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 4
Game Details
Asteras Tripolis
RoPS
4
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 3
Game Details
Hajduk Split
Dundalk
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
ND Gorica
Molde
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
Jagodina
CFR Cluj-Napoca
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
NK Koper
Neftchi Baku PFC
0
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Rijeka
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
Mlada Boleslav
0
4
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 6
Game Details
Diosgyor VTK
PFC Litex Lovech
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
Crusaders
Brommapojkarna
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 5
Game Details
St Johnstone
FC Luzern
(5) 1
(4) 1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 2
Game Details
St. Pölten
Botev Plovdiv
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FH Hafnarfjordur
Neman Grodno
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 1
Game Details
Stjarnan
Motherwell
3
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 4
Game Details
Real Salt Lake
Montreal Impact
3
1
FT
Game Details
Vélez Sarsfield
Estudiantes de Caseros
0
2
FT
Game Details
Sport
Paysandu SC
3
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 4
Game Details
AC Milan
Olympiakos
0
3
FT
Game Details
Next

Duarte: Brazil have to face reality

Brazil Jul 12, 2014
Read

Torre: Watching Messi

World Cup Jul 5, 2014
Read

Delaney: France run out of steam

France Jul 4, 2014
Read
 Posted by Andrea Canales
Jun 29, 2014

Mexico's dream dies in Dutch defeat

Two late goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar doomed Mexico's hopes of reaching the quarterfinals.
It was once so hopeful and so vibrant in Fortaleza. The fans in the stands were singing the national anthem along with the players. The early chances, six of them in the first half, belonged to El Tri, with only one for the Dutch.

The heat was clearly a factor in the match. Mexico's players handled it better, producing lively runs and dangerous opportunities. The Netherlands players looked weary and wilted, with few runs into Mexico's box. Nigel de Jong did not last even 10 minutes, getting subbed out early apparently due to injury, although he walked off the field on his own power.

Yet Mexico could not finish their attempts on goal. Miguel Layun, Hector Herrera, Gio dos Santos and Carlos Salcido missed wide or high or forced Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen into decent, although unspectacular, saves.

Even the most fervent El Tri fan probably felt frustrated as the opening period came to a close, feeling a sickly familiar sense of wasted possibilities and Mexico's talent shining brightly for a while on the world stage before fading away.

Indeed, it seemed as if the opening goal would belong to the Dutch, even after appearing only as a dim shadow of the great squad that dominated Spain. When Arjen Robben went down in Mexico's box in the 45th minute, it was arguably a penalty committed by El Tri captain Rafael Marquez. However, whether due in part to Robben's reputation for diving or not, the foul was not called by Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca and Mexico escaped.

NetherlandsNetherlands
MexicoMexico
2
1
ESPN3, ESPN FT
Match 51
Game Details

Many anticipated the Netherlands would regroup at halftime and come out determined to bury Mexico. Yet it was El Tri that was resolute from the start of the second half. The players carried their momentum from the first half, with a particular crucial difference. In the 48th minute, Dos Santos cracked a shot from the top of the box that had just enough angle to carry past the outstretched arm of Cillessen, who reacted late.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera leaped into the air to celebrate with his players and all the supporters who breathed a sigh of relief that El Tri had finally applied the right finishing touch to an attack.

Facing elimination from the World Cup, the Dutch put aside their discomfort with the heat and tried to fight their way back into the game. Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who hadn't had to make a single save in the first half, was forced to make an impressive reaction save in the 57th minute on Stefan de Vrij. The ball still nearly sneaked in from the rebound as it hit the post from Ochoa's block, but the bounce was kind to Mexico and fell outside of the goal.

Mexico's fans in the stands, deliriously happy with the lead, were almost afraid to hope their team would hold on. Dutch fans anxiously urged their squad on in the chase for the equalizer.

In the 75th minute, Ochoa stopped a breakaway from Robben again. The ensuing corner led to a Ron Vlaar header that was high over the crossbar.

Ochoa again denied a close-range attack from Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the 85th minute. Even though the shot was nullified for being offside, it again revealed how adamant the Mexican squad was about holding on to its dream of a fifth game.

Guillermo Ochoa's heroics in goal were not enough to fend off the Netherlands.
Guillermo Ochoa looked set to repeat his heroics in Fortaleza, making numerous important saves against the Netherlands.

But in the 88th minute, just at the close of the match, hearts broke all over Mexico when Wesley Sneijder shot a rocket through a crowd of players and into the corner of the goal. Ochoa, who was slightly screened by the bodies in front of him, didn't even have time to dive and attempt a save. It was only his second conceded goal of the tournament.

Mexico scrambled to recover from Sneijder's gut punch, to keep the courage they had displayed throughout the match, while the Dutch, heartened by the equaliser, drove on for the win. Perhaps they sensed that the will of El Tri was faltering, or perhaps they were motivated to fight for victory before extra time arrived to sap their fragile energy reserves.

Robben was again dancing with the ball in the box when his touch put the ball just out of the reach of Marquez, who continued his kick into Robben's leg. Robben's dramatic fall was no doubt exaggerated, but the foul was quite clear. This time, Proenca did not hesitate to grant the penalty.

Huntelaar stepped up to take it, staring down Ochoa. His hard, low shot into corner was like a knife into the airy hopes of all Mexico fans, deflating them instantly.

It seemed like a nightmare. Mexico was only five minutes or so from the quarterfinals, from breaking the hex, only to have it all snatched away so quickly and completely by a finally roused Netherlands team.

The dream is dead, but to aim high in a World Cup is always worth dreaming. Mexico leaves Brazil with pride and the dull pain of a heartache that, even after giving it their all, it wasn't quite enough.

Andrea Canales

Andrea Canales has covered soccer for over a decade and has loved the beautiful game most of her life. She has watched games in Azteca, interviewed nine El Tri coaches and covered three World Cups. She lives in Los Angeles. Follow her on Twitter @soccercanales.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.