The Dutch fell behind to their opponents Mexico in the opening minutes of the second half, when former Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur attacker Giovani dos Santos scored for the North American side.
Mexico appeared to be on course to the last eight, but Wesley Sneijder struck the equaliser on 88 minutes with a brilliant shot from the edge of the box.
There was a quick turnaround in fortunes at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza, as the Oranje were awarded a penalty deep into injury time.
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben, who is currently at Bayern Munich, was adjudged to have been brought down inside the Mexican box by defender Rafael Marquez.
Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar stepped up to take the spot kick and made no mistake in making it 2-1 to the Netherlands and taking them through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The 30-year-old former Real Madrid and AC Milan forward had actually come on in place of Manchester United star Robin van Persie in the 76th minute.
It was a bold decision from the Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal - who will take over the managerial duties at Old Trafford after the World Cup – and left many wondering if it was a right one.
Eventually that decision proved to be correct, as Huntelaar scored the match-winner in dramatic fashion.
United fans were watching the match, and here is what they made of their new manager’s big decision in a big match.
We have also included some tweets from general football fans to gauge their reaction to the substitution of Van Persie.
I think some of our youngsters might be used as impact subs, the way #LVG has used Depay so far at the World Cup...— War Eagle™ (@Das_Spiel_) June 30, 2014
Risky 2 diss LvG's decisions until d final whistle.Many laughed wen he played 5defenders against Spain;millions moaned wen he subbed off RvP— Lee Fletcher (@lynda4sky) June 29, 2014
It's obvious he uses his brain all of the time. If you haven't the brain to comprehend his decision, just wait until the final whistle #LVG— Lee Fletcher (@lynda4sky) June 29, 2014
So he took rvp off for Huntelaar and everyone was like WTF. Huntelaar gets a goal and an assist haha. Genius. #LVG— Tottenham Talk (@tottenhamtalk1) June 29, 2014