Netherlands sink Mexico to enter last eight

FORTALEZA: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struck a stoppage-time penalty as the Netherlands staged an incredible late fightback to beat Mexico 2-1 and reach the World Cup quarter-finals here Sunday. Huntelaar kept his cool in furnace-like conditions to fire Holland into the last eight after Wesley Sneijder had scored an 88th-minute equaliser to cancel out Giovani Dos Santos’s goal for Mexico. The dramatic Dutch fightback left Mexico’s players in tears as their last 16 jinx struck again. Mexico have now lost in the second round in six consecutive World Cup appearances, and had been just minutes away from a first quarter-final since 1986. 
The Netherlands had looked to be heading for defeat at the Castelao Stadium after a game played in ferocious heat. The match saw three-minute cooling breaks used for the first time in World Cup history as pitch-side temperatures hit 39 degrees (102.2 Fahrenheit) Dos Santos’s long-range strike on 48 minutes looked like it would settle the encounter. But with time ticking down, Holland launched wave after wave of attacks. They were rewarded when Sneijder lashed in the equaliser with two minutes to go. Then in the dying minutes, Arjen Robben jinked into the penalty area, and when veteran defender Rafa Marquez stuck out a leg, the Bayern Munich star went over. Referee Pedro Proenca pointed to the spot and Huntelaar stepped up to bury a nerveless penalty past Guillermo Ochoa. The win puts the Netherlands into a last eight meeting with either Costa Rica or Greece in Salvador next Saturday. 

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Aaj Kal