Netherlands v Mexico - Match Preview: Manchester United star to return

Robin van Persie is expected to return from suspension to captain the Netherlands in their last-16 match against Mexico on Sunday.

To be played on Sunday 29th June 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Castelao, Fortaleza.

Odds: Netherlands 21/20, Draw 12/5, Mexico 5/2

Preview & injury news

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is to return to captain the Netherlands after serving his one-match suspension against Chile for picking up two yellow cards in their first two group matches. That is bound to be good news for the Oranje, as they look to continue their 100% record in the tournament.

The Netherlands player who is definitely going to miss the match is Leroy Fer. The only other doubt is Bruno Martins Indi, who suffered concussion in their 3-2 win over Australia, so is unlikely to feature. Other than those two, manager Louis van Gaal has a full squad to pick from for the match against Mexico in Fortaleza.  

Mexico go into this last-16 clash with no injury concerns - their only player missing is Jose Juan Vazquez due to suspension. This could lead to United's Javier Hernandez starting his first match of the World Cup, but that would mean coach Miguel Herrera changing his formation to accommodate the striker - that is unlikely to occur.

El Tri will be going into this encounter feeling confident that they can contain the attacking threats of the Netherlands like they did against Brazil in the group stage. That 0-0 draw was in between comfortable wins over Cameroon and Croatia, and enough to see them qualify from Group A.

That draw against the hosts was in Fortaleza, the same ground where they play the Netherlands on Sunday. Therefore, the Mexicans will be quietly confident that they can keep the Oranje out if they perform to the same standards as they did against Brazil, so this will be no easy match for the Dutch to win. 

Key stats

1) Mexico have been knocked out of the World Cup finals at the second round stage in all five editions since 1994.

2) The Netherlands have won nine of their last 10 World Cup matches, with the only blip in this run being their 2010 final defeat against Spain.

3) Mexico have scored a goal in each of their last 11 World Cup matches against European nations, losing just two of these games (W4 D5 L2).

Five players to watch

Robin van Persie - The United striker's performance against Spain was one of the best of the tournament so far, and if he can play to that standard again, then Mexico will have a mountain to climb to stop him.

Rafael Marquez - Despite being 35 years of age, his performances have been brilliant for El Tri and his experience of playing in important matches have no doubt helped the younger players in the squad. However, should Arjen Robben get the chance to run at him with the ball, then he may struggle.

Nigel de Jong - The AC Milan star's aggressive style of play prevented Chile from starting any meaningful attacks in that match, and their possession was struggling to penetrate the Dutch midfield, let alone their defence. De Jong will be keen on recreating that form against Mexico.

Guillermo Ochoa - Ochoa have been arguably the best goalkeeper at the World Cup so far and has conceded just one goal. He was outstanding against Brazil, and the Netherlands will find him tough to beat too.

Arjen Robben - The Bayern Munich star has been in brilliant form in the tournament and his pace will trouble Mexico. His direct style of play will cause problems for the Mexican defence.

Last time they met

Netherlands 2-1 Mexico (Robin van Persie 17',41';Javier Hernandez 74') - Freiburg, Germany. 26th May 2010.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch