Mexico's Oribe Peralta (#19) celebrates after scoring against Cameroon in a FIFA World Cup match at Estadio das Dunas on June 13, 2014, in Natal, Brazil. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
FORTALEZA, Brazil – After securing a sixth consecutive trip to the World Cup knockout stages, Mexico will face the three-time tournament runner-up Netherlands in a round of 16 encounter on Sunday at the Estadio Castelao.
Here are Three Points to consider ahead of the game:
1) Mexico looking to change fate in round of 16
While Mexico has made a habit of advancing out of the group stage, it has not progressed to the quarterfinals since hosting the World Cup in 1986. In its last five round of 16 matches, the Tricolor has fallen by a combined score of 10-4 in losses to Argentina (2010, 2006), USA (2002), Germany (1998) and Bulgaria (1994). Overall, Mexico is 2-0-5 matches following the opening round, having defeated Bulgaria (1986) and Italy (1970).
2) Both teams are flush with attacking talent
With the expanse of offensive firepower on the field for both teams, the Netherlands-Mexico match has the potential for an offensive explosion. The Dutch need no introduction, boasting the likes of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Jeremain Lens. While on the other side of the field, Mexico will look to get in to the attack through Villarreal playmaker Giovani Dos Santos, 2013 CONCACAF Player of the Year Oribe Peralta and a resurgent Javier Hernandez.
Not to be forgotten, though, are the respective defenses. Mexico has conceded only one goal in three games, while the Dutch allowed three.
3) Continuing a trend and making amends
Mexico is unbeaten in four of its last five World Cup games against European opposition, including two straight wins. Its only loss over the stretch came against Portugal in a 2006 group stage match. Current roster members Rafael Marquez and Carlos Salcido started that day, while goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was on the substitutes’ bench. Wouldn’t they like to rescind the memories of that setback with a win in Fortaleza?