World Cup 2010 - Van Persie double downs Mexico

Wed, 26 May 20:50:00 2010

Robin van Persie scored twice as the Netherlands extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches with a 2-1 victory over Mexico on a rain-soaked field in Germany.

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Van Persie put the Dutch ahead after 17 minutes, and the Arsenal forward then doubled their advantage just before half-time as Bert van Marwijk’s side continued their good form ahead of the World Cup.

Mexico staged a spirited second-half comeback, but ultimately it was not enough for Javier Aguirre’s men.

Having not played since defeating the United States 2-1 in March, there was no lack of fluidity from the Dutch, and they started in ominous fashion.

Ibrahim Afellay was denied after just four minutes when goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa blocked with his chest.; Dutch captain Rafael van der Vaart was then unfortunate to see his 25-yard curling effort clip the post and go wide; van Persie saw a sliding effort go the wrong side of the post, and Mexico had Ochoa to thank after he brilliantly palmed away Dirk Kuyt’s close-range shot.

But there was little the Mexican goalkeeper could do when van Persie finally broke the deadlock. Van der Vaart’s whipped cross eluded the Mexican defence, leaving van Persie free to neatly tuck away a difficult chance at the far post.

Despite some tidy possession with the ball, Mexico lacked any real attacking threat, and they were made to pay as van Persie doubled the Netherlands’ advantage at the end of the first period.

On the turn, the impressive Afellay played a precision diagonal bass to van Persie, who waiting in the Mexican box, struck a crisp volley into the bottom corner past a helpless Ochoa.

Orlando Engelaar and Vurnon Anita were introduced for the Dutch after the break, as Aguirre sent on Pablo Barrera and Efrain Juarez.

The Netherlands continued to control proceedings though, as van der Vaart and Kuyt dragged shots narrowly wide.

But it was the introduction of Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela that signalled a change in fortunes for the Mexicans.

Pablo Barrera’s 30-yard drive forced Martin Stekelenburg into an acrobatic save, and dos Santos was denied a glorious chance by a last-ditch tackle inside the six-yard box.

Mexico’s increasing dominance was rewarded when Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez, completely free in the Dutch area, planted a header low into corner to reduce the deficit.

Stekelenburg was forced to tip dos Santos’ swerving effort over the bar, and Hernandez squandered a chance to equalise, scuffing his shot wide when well placed.

Van Marwijk’s men refused to sit back as they looked to restore their two-goal lead, but they found the Mexican defence far less porous than it was in the first half.

A stoppage-time free-kick offered Aguirre’s team the chance for a late equaliser, but Vela’s attempt was well held by Stekelenburg, consigning Mexico to defeat for the second time in three days.


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