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World Cup: Holland v Mexico
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Netherlands Screenshot 2014-06-04 09.13.59

• Van Persie will return up front after being suspended for the final group game.
• Leroy Fer will definitely miss out through injury but Bruno Martins Indi could return. • Full of confidence after winning all 3 group games.


Fer – CM – Injury


Martins Indi – CB – 60%


van Persie – ST – Suspension

Expected Team (5-3-2)

Screenshot 2014-06-27 12.51.28

Team News

The Netherlands will be able to recall a number of players after they rested some for the final group game against Chile. They had already secured progression to the 2nd round before the match but the win meant they avoided Brazil. Louis van Gaal has stuck to the 5-3-2 for all games other than the 2nd half against Australia so is likely to go this way again.

Robin van Persie will definitely return to the starting 11 after being suspended for the final group game; he picked up bookings against Spain and Australia to miss out. Jeremain Lens will drop back to the bench. Depay will also start on the bench again despite scoring in consecutive games as a sub.

Bruno Martins Indi could return after suffering concussion in the Australia match. He has resumed training and will slot back into the left of the back 3, with Blind going back to his normal wing back role. If Martins Indi doesn’t recover Dirk Kuyt could keep his place after performing well against Chile in the LWB role.

Jonathan de Guzman should return to the midfield in place of Wijnaldum and any hopes Leroy Fer had of grabbing a starting spot after scoring as a sub against Chile were dashed by a hamstring injury he picked up in training that may rule him out for the rest of the tournament.

Bench (from): Krul GK, Vorm GK, Verhaegh RB, Kongolo CB, Veltman CB, Clasie CM/DM, Kuyt RW/ST, Wijnaldum AM/RW, Depay LW, Huntelaar ST, Lens ST/LW

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   The Netherlands are expected to stick to the 5-3-2 that has seen them win 3 groups games despite negative comments from Chile manager Sampaoli. They will sit deep against Mexico and soak up the pressure, hitting quickly on the break with the pace of Robben.
  •   Blind’s distribution from full back was missed against Chile as he played in the middle of defence. He may get more time on the ball against Mexico but will have to be wary of Aguilar’s forward bursts.
  •   Sneijder has struggled to get into the games so far and was disappointing against Chile. The Netherlands will look to get him on the ball more beyond the midfield so he can influence the attacking play.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

 The Netherlands were not expected to qualify from the group but have surprised a lot of people with their football. They are likely to play in a similar manner against Mexico as they did against Chile and won’t be concerned with negative comments about their style.


Mexico Screenshot 2014-06-04 10.42.31

• Vazquez is suspended so Herrera will have to change his eleven for the first time this tournament. • Salcido looks set to replace him in midfield, which is a surprising choice ahead of Fabian and Pena. • Motivation of achieving a “fifth game” for the first time since 1986 is huge for the squad and fans.

Unavailable Doubtful

Vazquez – DM – Suspension None

Team News

Miguel Herrera will have to change his starting eleven for the first time at this World Cup due to the suspension of Jose Vazquez, who picked up a second yellow in the impressive 3-1 win over Croatia last time out.

Veteran Carlos Salcido looks set to have beaten Marco Fabian and Carlos Pena in the battle to replace him at the base of midfield, which is a surprising choice given the thirty-four year old is yet to play a minute in Brazil so far. Utmost in the coach’s thoughts has been maintaining the familiarity of his team as much as possible, though, with Fabian and Pena’s attacking instincts meaning that Hector Herrera would have likely had to drop back into the defensive slot. This would take a lot away from Mexico’s attacking play, with Herrera having been brilliant.

With no other suspension concerns and no fresh knocks picked up in training there should be no further changes and the shape should be similar to the one that bested Croatia, with Paul Aguilar and Miguel Layun playing far deeper than normal to help combat the threat of Arjen Robben on the break. Giovanni dos Santos will play off Oribe Peralta in attack despite Javier Hernandez’ impressive impact off the bench against Niko Kovac’s side, with the Manchester United striker again being held back to perform a similar function in this contest.



Expected Team (5-3-2)

Screenshot 2014-06-27 12.53.24

Bench (from): Corona GK, Talavera GK, Reyes CB, Ponce LB/LM, Pena CM/RM, Fabian AM/CM, Aquino RW, Brizuela SS, Hernandez ST, Jimenez ST/SS, Pulido ST/RW

Tactical Keys to the Game:

  •   The wing-back pairing will again be key for Mexico here and could lead to Netherlands reverting to the 5-3-2 formation they employed against Spain in the opener to match up with them. This would already represent a tactical victory for Miguel Herrera, who showed how well his preferred shape is able to combat a 4-3-3 in the last victory over Croatia.
  •   Marquez was also vital there with his intelligent play from the heart of the back three, though with Netherlands likely to set up with two in attack rather than one he will have much less freedom to step into midfield. What will become key is how the players outside of him deal with Robben on the counter, with Rodriguez especially vulnerable to pace.
  •   In terms of winning the game the attacking players most important to Mexico are Guardado and Herrera, who have each been outstanding from central midfield so far. They have the energy and drive to force opponents the other way and are diligent defenders at the same time, but the disruption of Vazquez missing out behind them could be an issue.

    Motivational Keys to the Game:

  •   Before Mexico even reached this stage the talk amongst their fan-base and in their media was about finally getting a “fifth” game at a World Cup. They have never progressed beyond this round at a finals held outside of their own nation and achieving this objective has always been their primary aim, so motivation should be extremely high here again.
  •   Herrera’s positivity means he is still talking about going much further than the Quarter-Final though, with the prospect of facing Costa Rica or Greece in the game after this one making the Semi-Final a very realistic possibility. Argentina or Germany would likely await at that stage, but the coach is telling everyone who will listen that this is Mexico’s year.




Football Form Labs Betting Preview: Netherlands (1) v Mexico (9), Sunday 29th June 17:00 BST

The Netherlands are unbeaten in their four meetings with Mexico since 1998 but all of those games saw both teams score and the one match they only drew was the only competitive game – a 2-2 at France ’98.

Since 1990 there have been 12 Last 16 matches where one side had won all three of their group games and they have won seven of those games with just two defeats. Furthermore, the team with the 100% record went through in the three games to be level after 90 minutes. In the first knockout round of the European Championships (quarter finals) in this time teams with a 100% record have W5-D3- L0, albeit with two sides being knocked out.

This is the sixth consecutive World Cup Mexico have made the Last 16 but in the previous five this is where their journey ended, including one defeat in extra-time and one loss on penalties. They beat Argentina in their second game four years ago but since then they’ve played seven competitive matches against top-10 ranked sides with six defeats and one draw as they’ve scored just three times.

Mexico ended up scoring three times against Croatia to ensure they went through but it was goalless at half-time and back to the last World Cup eight of their 13 matches against European sides have been level at half-time. Furthermore, since 2012 they’ve lost the first half in just one of their 29 competitive games with 19 draws at half-time (15 goalless).

The Netherlands have drawn the first half in all three of their group games and since 2013 they are unbeaten in their nine matches when level at the break with six wins and five victories by more than one goal. They have a superb record against CONCACAF nations of eight wins and one draw in their nine matches since 1994 and are unbeaten in their five games played in South America since 2011.

Goalscorer backers should take note of Arjen Robben’s red hot form. The Bayern winger has scored in seven of his last nine games for the Netherlands and is in the hunt for the Golden Boot. Against a Mexico defence whose main weakness is a lack of pace he looks a great price to get on the scoresheet.


Half Time/Full Time: Draw/Netherlands at $5.40 with Screenshot 2014-05-21 12.49.05

Anytime Scorer : Arjen Robben at $3.65 with Screenshot 2014-05-21 12.49.05





Screenshot 2014-06-12 20.13.28

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