Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Big test for Mexico

Published:Sunday | June 29, 2014 | 12:00 AM

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP):

The World Cup's highest-scoring team is about to meet arguably the tournament's best goalkeeper.

If the free-scoring Netherlands want to progress to the quarter-finals in Brazil, it will have to do what only one man has done so far - beat Guillermo Ochoa.

The Mexico keeper has conceded just one goal, a late consolation strike by Croatia's Ivan Perisic in Mexico's 3-1 win.

The 28-year-old Ochoa kept out Samuel Eto'o as Mexico beat Cameroon 1-0 and then had one of the performances of the tournament the last time he appeared in Fortaleza, denying Neymar twice with spectacular saves and Thiago Silva late in the 0-0 draw with Brazil.

When the Brazil match ended, Mexico's players lined up to hug their man-of-the-match keeper.

"We respect (the Netherlands) as we do with all of the other teams, but we know that they are among the favourites to win the Cup and that does not scare us, it motivates us," Ochoa said. "If we can beat them we will go very far."

Kuyt confident

Striker-turned-defender Dirk Kuyt is confident the Dutch, who have scored 10 times in three group matches including hammering in a stunning five against defending champion Spain, can find a way past Ochoa, too, today in Fortaleza's Arena Castelao.

"We know our strengths in the team," said Kuyt. He mentioned speedy winger Arjen Robben, "but also we've got Robin van Persie. In my opinion, Wesley Sneijder is one of the best players in the world. So we want to use those strengths."

Mexico are in the round of 16 for the sixth straight time - only Brazil and Germany have a longer streak of progressing from the group stage - but the team's tournament has ended at the round of 16 each time.

WORLD CUP FACTS

  • The maximum number of appearances in World Cup matches is 25. It was done by great German footballer Lothar Matthaus.
  • Norman Whiteside of Northern Ireland is the youngest player to play in the World Cup. He was just 17 years, one month and 10 days when he played FIFA World Cup in 1982.
  • The very first hat-trick in a World Cup match was scored by Bert Patenaude of United States in a match against Paraguay in the 1930 World Cup.