Netherlands produced an astonishing late comeback to rescue their World Cup dream and deny Mexico a first quarter-final in 28 years.
They had equalised in the 88th minute through Wesley Sneijder’s thumping strike from the edge of the penalty area and with extra time beckoning, Robben won Louis van Gaal’s side the spot-kick that took them into the quarter-finals. It was a heartbreaking moment for the Mexicans, who had gone ahead just after half-time through Giovani Dos Santos, the former Tottenham and Barcelona player, who scored from 25 yards with a memorable strike.
At the final whistle at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, Mexico’s players fell to the ground, unable to grasp how the game had slipped away. For long periods they had out-thought and out-fought their more celebrated opponents as the Netherlands appeared to wilt in the stifling heat. Yet, when the final whistle blew, this would be marked down as Mexico’s sixth successive loss in the second round of the World Cup, dating back to 1994.
Substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot in injury time after Arjen Robben was fouled by Mexico captain Rafael Marquez.