World Cup 2014 last 16 preview: Netherlands v Mexico
The Netherlands (odds-on to qualify for the quarter-finals at 1/2, and 15/2 World Cup chances) and Mexico (6/4) have met six times before, with the former winning three, and the last two 2-1. Back that scoreline in their favour again in 90 minutes at 17/2.
In all of the head-to-heads, the total number of match goals has been three or more, and Coral offer odds of 23/20 for there to be over 2.5 again in 90 minutes.
Soon-to-be Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side convincingly came through their tough pool, containing Spain, Chile and Australia, finishing top and winning all their games. They scored a group stage best this World Cup of 10 and, having managed two or more goals in their last four matches against the Aztecs, are 6/5 to do so again.
Mexico (25/1 to lift the trophy), on the other hand, also did well to progress from a group undefeated containing tournament favourites and host Brazil, as well as Croatia and Cameroon. El Tri managed not to concede until the 87th minute of their final pool match against Croatia, and they are temptingly priced at 14/5 to keep a third clean sheet at these finals in normal time.
Eccentric Mexico manager magic man Miguel Herrera certainly has lit up the World Cup in his own way, dramatically bouncing down the touchline giving orders and jubilantly celebrating by tackling his own players to the ground.
Once he calmed down from the emotions of beating Croatia to finish second in Group B, he said: “We overcame the first hurdle. We’re happy. That is one of the happiest days of my life. It was a hard fight, but my team pulled through. We felt as if we were playing at home in Mexico.
“We’re going to celebrate tonight (after the Croatia match) but tomorrow we have to start thinking of our match with the Netherlands.”
The man who will be in the opposite dugout to Herrera, Van Gaal, spoke out about his side’s new successful tactical approach, which saw them demolish holders La Roja 5-1, see off the Socceroos 3-2 and beat Chile 2-0.
“This is the proof. We’re not giving away very much and we’re always creating,” Van Gaal said. “And for a coach, it’s nice to see that it’s producing results. If that was not the case, you would have chopped off my head.”
He can rely on his national captain and future club forward Robin van Persie, who returns after being suspended for the final group game. The Man Utd striker netted twice in the Netherlands’ opener against Spain, as well as scoring against Australia. He also got both goals against Mexico the last time the nations played in 2010, and he is priced at 5/1 in 90 minutes to bag a brace or better once more.
His clubmate Javier Hernandez, who scored Mexico’s last against Croatia, was also on target that day against the Dutch, after Van Persie’s double. He has started on the bench in all three matches this World Cup so far, and is a 15/8 chance to net anytime, and 13/2 to get the last goal again.