Mexico got one of their best results since Gerardo Martino took over as national team coach when they defeated the Netherlands away in Amsterdam. It was a tough match, but Mexico looked liked the better team although they suffered in the last minutes, holding on for the 1-0 win. Mexico got their first win in Europe since the 2018 World Cup win over South Korea, and Gerardo Martino got a victory in his first meeting of an UEFA opponent with Mexico. Meanwhile Frank de Boer debuts with a loss in his first game as coach of the Netherlands. Mexico will now wait for their October 13th match in the Netherlands against African Champions Algeria. The Netherlands will have to travel to face Bosnia and Herzegovina as they return to action in the UEFA Nations League.
Mexico and the Netherlands started a match in which the Netherlands came out with a better than expected staring lineup including key players like Memphis Depay, Georginio Wijnaldum, Virgil Van Dijk and Stefan de Vrij. Still Mexico started pressuring well and displaying a good skill level. To the surprise of many, Mexico was having more possession and being the better team, especially with Jesus Corona showing glimpses of a possible great performance. Corona started one of the great plays when he tried to find Jesus Gallardo. Hans Hateboer tried to get to the ball but lost it against Gallardo, who then made a great pass in the area to Raul Jimenez, but his shot went wide. It was a prime opportunity and a bad miss by Jimenez, as he was wide open in the area against goalkeeper Tim Krul but his shot was far from what was needed. Later Krul made a mistake giving the ball away to Hector Herrera. Herrera found Corona, who made a great play but his shot went just wide. The Dutch had their first opportunity when a shot from Depay was easily saved by Mexico’s goalkeeper Andres Talavera. Later Steven Berghuis got a great left footed shot that forced Talavera to make a great save. The game became more even for a couple of minutes as Mexico relaxed control for a time, but they were still holding up well with the European team. Mexico had a good chance when Netherlands lost the ball to Rodolfo Pizarro but he waited too much too decide before passing the ball to Jimenez, who got a shot off but it went wide in what would have been a tough opportunity to score. Later Corona made a great move that left Hateboer stumbling in what was one of the game highlights. The Netherlands had a close call with a play that almost was finished by Depay, as well as Mexico also coming close with a play by Jimenez that left Andres Guardado with a shot that went wide. The ref later blew the halftime whistle and Mexico fans could have complained about not being able to score, but having made a great first half performance in which they were better than the local team made up for it.
The second half started with the Netherlands subbing out Van Dijk for Nathan Ake and De Vrij for Joel Veltman. It didn’t taken long for Corona to make a great play in the area, but unfortunately his pass was off and didn’t reach a Mexican player. Minutes later, Luis “Chaka” Rodriguez made a great cross into the area, but Jimenez couldn’t get to the ball. Mexico had the best chance of the game when a good combination play between Hector Herrera and Corona, was finished with Corona going on a one-on-one against Krul. Unfortunately for Mexico, Corona’s shot was blocked by Krul on a great play but in which Corona could’ve done better. Then off a free kick, Jimenez went to tried to get to the ball but got brought down by Nathan Ake. Replays showed that it was possibly an offside but since there was no VAR, the decision stood. Jimenez stepped up to take and placed it perfectly with a right footed shot past Krul for the 1-0. Mexico had taken the lead and deservedly so. Mexico made their first move by subbing out Andres Guardado and Rodolfo Pizarro for Jonathan Dos Santos and Orbelin Pineda. The Dutch subbed out Wijnaldum, Berghuis, and Ryan Babel for Marlen de Roon, Calvin Stengs, and Luuk de Jong. Minutes later Talavera looked to have made a great play by diving and taking a ball off de Jong’s head but it was ruled to be offside. With the Netherlands trailing at home, they started push up as Mexico held on but seemed to start suffering from the physical impact of their pressuring on the Dutch team for so many minutes. Corona had another great play when he went past the Dutch defense and left Ake stumbling but his shot was saved by Krul. Mexico subbed out Jimenez and Edson Alvarez (who had a great game) for Henry Martin and Luis Romo. Later Herrera was subbed out for Omar Govea, who was getting his first minutes with Martino. In the final minutes, the Netherlands took control of the game as Mexico lost steam and the subs didn’t particularly rise to the level of that Mexico’s team had shown in the first 25 minutes. Mexico made their last move by subbing out Hector Moreno for Nestor Araujo. The Netherlands had the best chance when a cross found Luuk de Jong, who headed from close range but Talavera stopped it only for the ball to fall to Depay, whose strong shot bounced off the post and went out. It was a real close opportunity for the Dutch and Mexico were lucky to continue with their lead. The Dutch pushed Mexico the final minutes but Mexico did a good job of playing “keep away” to hold on and get the 1-0 victory.
Mexico gave one of the best performances under Gerardo Martino, if not the best performance or result. Jesus Corona gave one of the best individual performances by a player with the Mexican NT in the stadium and against the rival where he made his debut with the senior team in 2014. A lot of players stepped up including players like Herrera, Jesus Gallardo, Chaka Rodriguez, Alvarez, Moreno, and Cesar Montes. While it’s true that the Netherlands had to concentrate on their Nations Leagues game against Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy, they went with a better starting lineup than expected and although it was close, Mexico was the better team. It’s no small feat when you take into account that the Dutch are one of the best squads in the world with players in the top clubs in the world. Not only was the result a great boost for Mexico but the level of play showed that Mexico made a statement, especially national team coach Gerardo Martino. Martino showed that he has made a solid national team and has improved from the side that got surprised by Argentina a year ago. Mexico will now face a tough Algerian side, who is not as good as the Dutch but are the current African champions and unlike the Netherlands, they will not have other commitments to take priority over the match. Mexico should be very careful as they already had a similar problem in 2014, when after beating the Netherlands, they went on to lose 3-2 against Belarus in a cold match in which Mexico and coach Miguel Herrera went into it overconfident with a totally different lineup that couldn’t cope with the game. Still Mexico has plenty of time (six days) to prepare and hopefully get another great test on an European tour that has started in a superbly for Mexico.