Some fans of Mexico went all out. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Mexico lost to the Netherlands 2-1 on Sunday morning, in a game that eliminates them from advancing to the quarterfinals—a feat it has not accomplished in 28 years.

Mexico dominated the first half of the game, with three missed shots on the goal versus one for Oranje. In the 48th minute, Giovannni dos Santos scored the first goal of the game, pressuring the Netherlands to rally against Mexico, which focused on defense for (almost) the remainder of the game.

As the Dutch relentlessly sallied forth against Mexico (a total of five attempts on the goal in the second half) and were repelled time and time again, it looked as if the game belonged squarely to a team that has not been in the quarterfinals since it hosted the World Cup in 1986.

But in the 88th minute, Wesley Sneijder scored during a corner kick. And just four minutes later (six minutes of overtime were given), the Netherlands was awarded a penalty when Rafa Marquez made contact with Arjen Robben’s foot within the penalty area. (No doubt, many will be debating whether this was a true foul for some time, a dive from Robben being a possibility. Miguel Herrera, Mexico’s coach, believes Robben dove, though the Dutch midfielder himself has said that he was fouled, even if he did fall a bit too exuberantly.) The penalty kick was taken by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and he scored, making the game 2-1 in its 94th minute, with two minutes of gameplay left.

Unsurprisingly, Mexico was unable to catch up in that time, and the Netherlands will advance to face Costa Rica in the quarterfinals on July 5. Time will tell whether Los Ticos can beat a team that has maintained a perfect record in this year’s World Cup, but the fact that Mexico kept its lead for the vast majority of the game means that another Latin American team may yet beat Holland.

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  1. Soccer is a physical sport but not a contact sport. If a player “made contact” with another player’s foot, without making contact with the ball, then it’s a foul.

    Why is it to be hoped that a Latin America team beats Holland? Holland have historically been the unluckiest team in the competition, having been losing finalists three times and never having won it.

    Whereas Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay have all won at least twice. What would be good for the game would be for a small or evolving nation to win, like Holland, Belgium, Columbia or Chile..

    Point being, it’s not about race, and in fact the rivalry between say, Brazil and Argentina, means that either would probably rather a European team win it than the other

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