Mexico's Rafael Marquez (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Croatia during a FIFA World Cup match at Arena Pernambuco on June 23, 2014, in Recife, Brazil. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
SANTOS, Brazil-- Mexico worked out for two hours Thursday at the Centro Rei Pele with a keen focus on the Netherlands, its World Cup round of 16 opponent.
The sides last met in the FIFA event at France 1998, a 2-2 draw in St. Etienne.
A showdown against the 2010 runner-up does not daunt the Mexicans at all.
"Well, we are now recovered, enthusiastic, motivated for this game, for the opportunity that we have and for the opponent that we face” said defender Rafael Marquez. “It's a big team with history and is the favorite.”
The captain had praise for the team’s continued efforts and the players’ willingness to improve.
"I think that we are doing things in a good manner,” Marquez expressed. It has done a good job, even those who are substitutes are playing their part to try to be in the starting eleven.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa emphasized that progression to the second round was due to teamwork.
"I think the defensive line has been shown to be a key because in such a short tournament it is so important and essential, it helps you earn points,” said the former Club America star. “To the forwards that have options to win the game, to make a difference.”
Ochoa says there is no apprehension in the squad as it prepares for a sixth straight appearance in the round of 16.
"I see my team ready and prepared for this match, waiting for the moment to arrive,” continued the 28-year-old. “I see the group hopeful and eager to advance to the quarterfinals”
"(Netherlands) is a tough opponent, which is not going to be easy. We will give a good fight in all sectors and will have to be very attentive and focused.”
Perhaps forward Oribe Peralta worded Mexico’s perspective best, saying: "The Netherlands is not invincible. They are like any other. We know that we can win. This is the work of a team, not individuals.”