Photo by Flickr user Frank/Creative Commons
Still eager to find their first title, Mexico searched for answers in their 2 – 1 loss to the Netherlands on Sunday in Brazil.
The Mexican team began strong, dominating possession of the ball and scoring their first and only goal in minute 48 with a cannon from Giovanni dos Santos.
The Netherlands took command during the second half when they scored their first goal and tied up the match.
But the last few minutes of the game were the deciding factor.
Along with Mexico fans, Mexican Head Coach Miguel Herrera has an answer to the loss: a bad call by the referee.
Referee Pedro Proenca pulled a yellow infraction card on Mexican team captain Rafael Marquez after challenging striker Arjen Robben inside the box. Robben collapsed, earning the Netherlands a penalty kick.
It was Dutch player Klaas Jan Huntelaar who scored the penalty in minute 94 of play– the game winner.
Many, especially Mexico, disputed the questionable call from the Portuguese referee.
Arjen Robben appeared to have flopped.
During the game, Robben already had two instances where he dove, faking a penalty. Coach Herrera urged the officials. He should have been warned and the final fall should have instead resulted in a second yellow card, eliminating him with a red card.
Although the game was decided on a controversial call, stats show the Netherlands did win by a small margin.
The possession of the ball was controlled 55 percent of the time by the Dutch offense compared to 45 percent by Mexico. There were 14 shots by the Netherlands compared to 12 by the Mexicans.
The only significant stat would be in the subject of fouls: 12 of them called on Mexico, to eight by the Netherlands.
The biggest post game comment came from Rafa Marquez who told reporters he spoke with Robben after the match. “I spoke with him [Robben] after the match and he told me that it was not a penalty,” Marquez said.
Whether the call was an error or not does not matter now. Heartbreak cannot be mended and Mexico exits the competition. The Netherlands will continue to the quarterfinals to face Costa Rica next Saturday.
The World Cup continues with second round action through July 1st and enters the quarterfinals 4th of July weekend.