For over ninety minutes, Mexico appeared to be the better team on Sunday. Led by their goalkeeper, Memo the “Fortress of Fortaleza,” Ochoa, Mexico was just five minutes away from pulling off a miracle when the Dutch came back from the brink of death.

Everything fell apart for El Tri, in a devastatingly painful final five minutes that saw them concede two goals, and fall to the Netherlands 2-1.

Tears flowed from both fans and players as Mexico's improbable run to the World Cup and the round of 16 that had them just two minutes away from making the quarterfinals, came to a dramatic end.

Before the match, there were rumblings that potentially Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera would start Chicharito in his XI to replace Jose Juan Vazquez in the middle who was out this match due to a suspension. Instead he started Carlos Salcido in replace of Vazquez.

The Netherlands was forced to use an early substitution in the 9th minute when Nigel De Jong was forced to come off with an injury. Strangely, another Dutch player who was nursing an injury prior to the match and forced to miss practice this week, Bruno Martins Indi, was brought in to replace him.

Mexico appeared to have more opportunities early in the match. In the 24th minute, new starter, Carlos Salcido dialed up a shot from long distance. The ball dipped and swerved on its way to the net. Holland’s keeper, Jasper Cilessen, did not look comfortable on the save and Mexico would continue to put pressure on him peppering him with shots the remainder of the half.

It was 97 degrees on the pitch during the match, and players were constantly running to the sidelines in between play to get sponges of cold water dropped on their heads. The first water break came at the 32nd minute where we saw our first television commercial that was not at halftime in a World Cup soccer match. As mentioned in my preview for the match, the heat and humidity was better suited for the Mexican national team who does their training in the hot summer city of Mexico City whereas Holland never quite sees temperatures this high at any point throughout the year.

Giovani dos Santos had an opportunity right before the half when he attempted a tight angle shot from a few yards off the baseline on the right hand side of the goal; Cilessen was able to make a great kick save however.

Mexico was given a gift by the referee in the 48th minute when replays showed that Arjen Robben was fouled in the box and should have received a penalty kick. The foul was not called on the pitch which was a theme early and often by the officials in this match, and Hector Moreno (the one who committed the foul), was injured on the play and had to be carried off the pitch. It was later disclosed that he broke his leg on the play. He was substituted in the second half by Diego Reyes.

At the half, the score was tied at 0-0. I had earlier written in my prediction before the match, that both Mexico and the Netherlands were second half teams who have scored 93% of their goals in this World Cup in the second half. Mexico went into the break with six total shots on goal compared to one for the Netherlands. Another shocking statistic considering that the Netherlands had the most shots on goal of Group B and Mexico had the least amount of shots in Group A prior to the match.

In a positive sign for Mexico, each of their first three games of the World Cup in which they went 2-0-1, the score at halftime was 0-0.

Mexico came out of the half like gang busters and Giovani dos Santos put Mexico on the board first, three minutes into the second half. The Netherlands defense put little to no pressure on dos Santos as he was able to create space from long distance about 30 yards from goal. He struck it strongly with his left foot and was able to find the bottom right corner of the net. The goal was dos Santos first goal in over two years for Mexico.

Giovani dos Santos goal Mexico's Giovani dos Santos dials long distance with this shot three minutes into the second half. Reuters

The Dutch “super-sub”, Memphis Depay, came in to the match at the 57th minute for Paul Verhaegh. Depay has been a part of two goals as a sub thus far in the World Cup for Netherlands. Depay got his first action off a corner kick in the 57th minute. The “Fortress of Fortaleza” appeared and made an incredible save on the line, denying the Dutch the goal and keeping the lead for Mexico as the crowd started chanting, “O-Cho-A, O-Cho-A!”

Memo saves the day Just one of many amazing saves made my Mexico's amazing Memo Ochoa Reuters

Mexico’s hero, Giovani dos Santos was substituted out in the 61st minute for Javier Aquino.

Giovani dos Santos Mexico's Giovani dos Santos celebrates his game winning goal against Netherlands. Reuters

The flying Dutchmen had their chances in the second half, but whether it be because of the heat, the long rest, or Mexico’s defense, they seemed just a tad slow and an inch off throughout the match.

The Netherlands seemed content to give Mexico the middle of the pitch in their own zone, as they closed off the wings and forced the ball to the middle. The middle is where they got over 80% of their shots on goal from and it is where dos Santos was able to find the back of the net.

Mexico did a great job shutting down Robin van Persie as he got little to know touches in the match. The Dutch “big three” were visibly frustrated the last twenty minutes of the match.

Another huge save for Memo Ochoa came in the 75th minute as Robben, leapt over Rafa Marquez in the box and shot from the right side of the goal, but right into a charging Ochoa.

Mexico’s “super-sub” Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez came into the match in the 75th minute for Mexico looking to impress his soon to be coach, Louis van Gaal. In a shocking move, the Netherlands countered by taking out star Robin van Persie and replacing him with Klaas Jan Huntelaar.

The second water break of the match occurred with fifteen minutes left to go. You could feel that Fortaleza would be rocking for the final fifteen minutes of the match.

The final moments were indeed frantic as Clockwork Orange continued to attack. Finally, the equalizer came in the 88th minute off of a set piece that saw the ball bounce around until finally Wesley Sneijder found it in the center of the box and hammered it home to the left side of the net.

Sneijder Scores Netherlands's Wesley Sneijder delivers the equalizer in the final minutes of the match Reuters

Mexico’s miracle came to an end in stoppage time when Arjen Robben finally got a call in the box. The third time was a charm for Robben who was given a penalty kick that was taken by Jan Huntelaar. Memo Ochoa was not able to save it for Mexico this time and the Netherlands drove the dagger into the hearts of Mexico.

The loss for Mexico is devastating for a team that arguably outplayed the Dutch for a majority of the match. ESPN’s Jorge Ramos, called the match an “injustice” for Mexico and believed that the foul on Marquez at the end of the game was a make up call for the penalty that was not called earlier in the first half.

Drama surrounded the eccentric and animated Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera after the game as Herrera got into the face of Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca apparently bumping him as well. In the end, Herrera and his team can hold their heads high once the sting of this loss subsides. They made it further than anyone ever expected they would and had it not been for a bad bounce in the final two minutes, they would have advanced to the quarterfinals for just the third time in their history. If Miguel “El Piojo” Herrera does not lose the “interim” tag as coach of the Mexican National team and soon, it is a travesty.

Next up for the Netherlands is the winner of the afternoon match between Costa Rica and Greece in the quarterfinals.

Game Notes:
The Netherlands have come back to win their last four matches in which they have fallen behind. Mexico have now been knocked out of the World Cup in the second round in their last six consecutive appearances. Arjen Robben has either scored or assisted in eight goals in his last eight World Cup appearances. His teammate, Robin van Persie has scored 17 goals in 19 total appearances under Louis van Gaal. Mexico has now scored a goal in their last 12 World Cup matches versus European countries. Wesley Sneijder has now scored five goals in five elimination matches for the Dutch.