Fer – CM – Injury
Martins Indi – CB – 60%
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:
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.
• 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.
Vazquez – DM – Suspension None
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)
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:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
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.