FanDuel - WFBC

June 29, 2014

Mexico Faces The Netherlands in Round of 16: After making the World Cup only through the divine intervention of San Zusi, Mexico has been on an impressive run so far. But now they face The Netherlands, the 2010 runner-up who absolutely demolished 2010 champ Spain in the opening game and helped them exit early. Mexico has lost three times and drawn once in its last matches against the Dutch and exited the World Cup at this stage every time since 1994. Arjen Robben and Robbie Van Persie are within 1 and 2 goals, respectively, of Johnny Rep's all-time national goal record in the finals.

posted by rcade to soccer at 10:44 AM - 14 comments

Mexico just sort of gave up after their goal and played way too conservatively. It wasn't surprising that the Dutch capitalized upon that mistake, but still, what a bummer.

posted by evixir at 02:40 PM on June 29

The Dutch aren't making too many friends, and Robben won't be taking a holiday in Mexico anytime soon.

But that won't matter if they win it this time.

posted by owlhouse at 09:29 PM on June 29

My Trini-Bajan (Born in Barbados, lived in Trinidad) cousin now lives in Holland. She's been on Facebook all day posting pictures of her husband drinking toasts to the victory and rooting for the Orange. Now that Portugal is out (my ancestry on my mother's side), I'm down to the US and The Netherlands for a rooting interest. I did have a bit of a soft spot for Mexico, though.

posted by Howard_T at 09:44 PM on June 29

Disappointed that Ochoa is now out of the tournament, among other things. I could live with the dagger of the late equalizer, but I wanted it to go to extra time and penalties, because I thought Ochoa would be able to shut the door on the Dutch.

posted by beaverboard at 11:18 PM on June 29

If it went to extra time, I felt that the Dutch would take it anyway. Which was a bit of a turnaround, because in the first half I thought the Dutch looked shot, seemingly half a metre behind the Mexicans and looking exhausted. Turns out it was probably their starting shape that was wrong.

Mexico made the mistake of trying to hang onto a one goal lead. Some defensive subs were probably the wrong move, and Holland dominated from about the 70th minute on. Van Gaal eventually got the team he wanted on the field. Van Persie was ineffective through the middle, and deserved to come off, while he also got Depay on to give them width on the left. The 4-3-3 works better for Holland than the 5-3-2, but apparently the players and Van Gaal differ on this, and player power means they start with two up front, so he ends up having to tinker during the game.

I thought Holland might run out of time, and when the equaliser went in, you could tell only one team was going to be set up in both personnel and shape to go for a winner.

posted by owlhouse at 12:16 AM on June 30

Robben won't be taking a holiday in Mexico anytime soon.

Everyone will focus on the end of the game, but at the end of the first half Robben was kicked in the box by two separate Mexicans and got nothing for it.

I'll be interested to see if FIFA has something to say about coaching during the water breaks. van Gaal got to make a number of changes all at once and convey them to his team together because of the break and then Mexico then had to respond on the fly, the old fashioned way.

As a neutral it made for a better spectacle than the 3-5-2 mirror match that was happening earlier in the game though.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:16 AM on June 30

but at the end of the first half Robben was kicked in the box by two separate Mexicans and got nothing for it

I didn't think he got fouled on either of those back to back falls. Simply dove over the opposition legs both times. I think out of all the serial divers in the game, Robben is one of the worst. The penalty itself was probably a foul and he probably deserved a penalty in the first half, so it all evens out.

I've decided I'm rooting against the Dutch the rest of the way unless Robben is red carded at some point.

posted by Ricardo at 08:39 AM on June 30

The thing that bothers me most about Robben (maybe I should learn to admire him for this) is that he's such an artfully selective flopper. He has a keen sense of when and when not go down. During one of his runs yesterday, with the ball still moving in front of him, he blazed ahead and flew over a leg tackle as though he were in an equestrian event because he knew he might be able to finish. Then at other times of course, he goes down if you wave a feather boa at him.

I wish he would decide on which persona it's going to be - Clark van Kent or the Victorian porcelain figure - and just stick to one of them.

Also wondering when/if the refs and AR's are ever going to get to a point where they're able to disregard the player antics while keeping the game under control.

posted by beaverboard at 09:14 AM on June 30

I didn't think he got fouled on either of those back to back falls. Simply dove over the opposition legs both times.

I think Mr. B. is referring to the earlier foul in the box. That's what bugs me, I can't even whine about Robben's antics because out of his three falls in the box, two of them were legitimate penalty shouts. That said, the incident you are referring to should have caused his mother to come onto the field and drag him home by his ear.

Mexico made the mistake of trying to hang onto a one goal lead.

Yeah, I thought Herrera turned back into a pumpkin1 yesterday. His orifices puckered and he saw the one goal as a good enough edge against a Dutch team that seemed to be sleep-walking in the heat. Mexico got as far as they did because of a coach who is a great motivator but tactically naive and this was a live-by-the-sword moment. When he brought on Chicharito I hoped for a second he was springing a trap on van Gaal and committing back to attack, but it was a like-for-like swap and it was van Gaal's tactics that won the day as he happily explained in the third-person to the media afterward. Louis should make for a fine quote in Manchester next year and if he needs a conditioning coach to avoid what almost befell the Dutch yesterday, I'm sure RvP will put in a good word for David Moyes.

As for Herrera, who someone described as "the love child of Pete Rose and Chris Farley", he showed the class you would expect from that kind of progeny, blaming the ref for the loss. I don't think he has a case. Alexi Lallas described the penalty as a "cumulative card" and that's probably as good a description as you'll get. To me, the ref seemed to be on the same page with us here about Robben and it was Robben's reputation that kept El Tri ahead. The first incident, the one I think Mr. B refers to, was the result of a terrible Mexican turnover2 which meant the ref was understandably 30 or so yards from the foul and his brain put 2 and 2 together and came up with 0 respect for Robben. When Robben had his foot stapled to the ground in the box for a second time, there wasn't much to do except point to the spot.

I am really struggling to care one way or the other about the water breaks (ESPN's crew was exploding about how it was a different sport if you're going to introduce timeouts. The alternative being watching players drop dead of cramps I guess), but perhaps the coaches should be kept back from the teams. I don't know that it will make much of a difference in their ability to communicate tactics, but I also don't know that it makes much of a difference now.

1. Hang on, was he ever not gourd-shaped?
2. I will leave the empañada joke as an exercise for the reader.

posted by yerfatma at 09:47 AM on June 30

I'm cool with the water breaks, but I do think this match was shorted a few minutes of playing time in both halves--especially the first half, with the additional injury stoppage in added time--that were not adequately added back in. I may be branded a heretic for suggesting it, but would it be so wrong to stop the game clock during the water breaks so that the 4th official doesn't have to hold up a 5 or 6 in the 90th minute?

posted by bender at 10:04 AM on June 30

During one of his runs yesterday, with the ball still moving in front of him, he blazed ahead and flew over a leg tackle as though he were in an equestrian event because he knew he might be able to finish.

To be fair, Robben had pace and room to make that jump. He can't jump with forward momentum on a lot of his challenges where he's speedily dribbling but moving laterally or slowly forward. The foul was a cutback from the goal line with next to no pace. You could jump up, but not forward with the ball intact.

Robben certainly flourishes every contact made with him, but on the Marquez foul he'd have had to contort himself and would've landed into three other Mexican players to avoid it. It was a certain turnover otherwise and Marquez really didn't need to make that challenge.

posted by dfleming at 10:10 AM on June 30

but at the end of the first half Robben was kicked in the box by two separate Mexicans and got nothing for it

For clarity, this is the one I'm talking about. He gets his heel clipped and then his left foot cleaned out by two Mexican defenders who make no contact with the ball at all.

As for the penalty that was given - I thought it was a Robben special : a foul and a dive. He turns the embellishment dial to 9 after contact, but then in the first half he got clear contact, fell down normally and got nothing.

What lesson would you take out of that?

posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:36 AM on June 30

Robben certainly flourishes every contact made with him.

Robben was definitely doing some embellishing yesterday--I agree 100% with Mr Bismarck that the foul that resulted in the PK was a foul and a dive--but one thing that I like about him is that more than many other players, he will recognize when the foul is taking away a real chance and attempt to play through on an advantage. In my estimation (which is based only on watching him in World Cups), he has played himself out of more foul calls than he has acted his way into--sometimes when he ultimately ended up stumbling and falling down a few steps later--and that is at least moderately commendable.

posted by bender at 11:51 AM on June 30

Whether coaches should be allowed to speak with players on a water break, and I don't see the problem since the ref calls for the break, both coaches have the same opportunity and Herrera not taking advantage is on him, not van Gaal.

As for the clock, given that wireless integration of the referee's watch and the stadium clock is trivial technically (and therefore inexpensive, a stated FIFA consideration) I don't see why they don't stop the clock for anything that would generate injury time. Maybe a button for an extra, say, 10 seconds for when the ref takes a beat to decide it's happened.

posted by billsaysthis at 01:10 PM on July 01

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