NETHERLANDS 2-1 MEXICO, Freiburg (Germany) 26/05/10
Van Persie 17, 41; Hernandez 74
Two first-half goals from Robin Van Persie were enough for the Netherlands see off Mexico and retain the UFWC title.
The Netherlands had the best of the early exchange, as shots came in from every angle. In the 8th minute a diagonal pass for Van Der Vaart split the Mexican defence wide open, only for his shot to hit the post and deflect wide. The Mexican goal was living a charmed life as the Netherlands took five shots in the opening quarter of an hour before opening the scoring.
In the 17th minute, another diagonal pass this time found Van Persie who fired into an empty net because of the goalkeeper misjudging the pass.
Mexico tried to break through to get an equalizer, but the Netherlands’ defence stood firm, leaving Mexico to resort to harmless long-range shots. The Netherlands continued to strive for a second goal, but the Mexican defenders and the goalkeeper managed to keep the game at 1-0.
That was until the 41st minute, when another diagonal pass again found Van Persie, and he fired into the bottom corner with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot, and the Netherlands went into half-time in a commanding position.
The Netherlands started the second-half as they left it, but it wasn’t long before Mexico finally got a grip on the game, their first genuine chance coming in the 58th minue, as a long-range shot forced a decent save from the goalkeeper. Cracks started to appear in the Netherlands defence as they survived a goalmouth scramble in the 66th minute by the skin of their teeth, a last-ditch challenge being the only thing to prevent Mexico from hitting the net.
Mexico continued to probe and finally got what they deserved when Hernandez was first to a Torres Nilo cross, as he headed the ball into the corner and out of the reach of Stekelenburg.
But Mexico didn’t slow down, as a fantastic long-range effort destined for the top corner was kept out by a world-class save. Both teams tried to get another goal to help their cause, but both defences remained firm and the match ended 2-1 to the Netherlands, extending their unbeaten streak in the UFWC to fourteen.
The result puts the Netherlands level with Russia in joint 4th place in the all-time UFWC Rankings, and sets up a title match against Ghana on June 1st, which we will preview for you tomorrow.