Wesley Sneijder believes the Netherlands can go one better than four years ago and win the World Cup, although that does not mean he is taking today’s last-16 opponents Mexico lightly.
The Oranje made it all the way to the final in South Africa in 2010, only to fall at the final hurdle as Andres Iniesta’s extra-time goal secured Spain a 1-0 win.
They managed to exact some revenge for the defeat in Johannesburg by thrashing the reigning champions 5-1 in the their first match of Group B, which they went on to win at a canter thanks to victories over Australia and Chile.
Louis van Gaal’s side will be looking to extend that winning run when they take on Mexico in Fortaleza today – a match Sneijder approaches with the pain of 2010 fresh in his mind.
“When I start a tournament, I always want to win it,” the Silver Ball winner four years ago said. “And, of course, some are much easier to win than others.
“Four years ago, for example, it was a tough challenge for us but everything in the group was good and the whole process worked well for us. But we played the final and we lost. That was one of the toughest moments of my career so far.
“But the beautiful thing about football is that you always have the chance to gain a bit of revenge, and here we are four years later. And why can’t we win it this time? I think we have a great team and a great spirit, so we have to go for it.”
Jose Juan Vazquez who is suspended. Carlos Salcido could come into midfield in his absence. Striker Javier Hernandez is likely to start from the bench, despite netting in the 3-1 win over Croatia.
Robin van Persie returns from suspension and should come back into the starting XI here. Bruno Martins Indi missed the 2-0 win over Chile through injury, but should be fit to start at centre-back.
Mexico (3-5-2): Ochoa; Rodriguez, Marquez, Moreno; Aguilar, Herrera, Salcido, Guardado, Layun; Dos Santos, Peralta
Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Cillissen; De Vrij, Vlaar, Indi; Janmaat, De Guzman, De Jong, Blind; Sneijder; Robben, Van Persie
Mexico have performed better than expected and will not make it easy, but it’s hard to see them containing Robben and Van Persie. Mexico 0-2 Netherlands
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