World Cup 2014: Netherlands vs Mexico – strengths, weaknesses and key men

A look ahead to the Last 16 encounter between these sides

Netherlands

Strengths

The Dutch have a brilliant experienced trio orchestrating their attacks: Wesley Sneijder playing behind Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben. They all took revenge on Spain for the 2010 final in their first game.

Weaknesses

There is real inexperience in between the posts and in the defensive unit which cannot be covered up by the deployment of a back five or by the admirable but limited centre-back Ron Vlaar.

Key man

Robben, even at 30, seems to be in the form of his life and just as quick as ever, scoring three times in the Netherlands’ first two games and looking just as dangerous against Chile.

 

Mexico

Strengths

Maverick coach Miguel Herrera has engendered real spirit in the team but also defensive organisation, with a back five that smothered Brazil and extra insurance in goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

Weaknesses

Herrera said before the tournament began that the Mexico team “lacks the mentality” to go as far as they might. Mexico have been knocked out at the last-16 stage for the last six straight World Cups.

Marquez in action for Mexico Marquez in action for Mexico  

Key man

Rafael Marquez is the first man to captain his country at four World Cups and the veteran has produced some of his best performances yet at the heart of Mexico’s five-man defence.

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