Looking for a 12th man in Netherlands vs. Mexico? Look no further than the weather, which was edging 100 degrees at kickoff. By the break, both sides looked worse for wear, although it was the Dutch that seemed to be wilting the fastest. Will they manage to make more than one (off-target) shot in the second half?
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None. Not even any real chances.
Other key moments
7′: Jasper Cillessen makes the interesting decision to charge out of goal in an attempt to stop Paul Aguilar from going through on goal, but his kick only drops the ball even further into danger. Fortunately his oranje defense manages to clear.
9′: We already have our first substitution and no, it does not appear to be due to heat stroke. A limping Nigel de Jong is replaced by Bruno Martins Indi … who did not start as he is still recovering from a “slight” concussion.
17′: The Dutch defense flounders once again, giving Giovani dos Santos and Oribe Peralta plenty of space. Peralta shoots, but it goes just wide.
20′: Mexico likely should’ve been awarded a penalty, what with Ron Vlaar kicking Héctor Herrera in the face and everything.
32′: We’ve just had our first official water break of the World Cup! And…that was about all the excitement this match could offer.
45+2′: Arjen Robben grabs onto a ball from Robin van Persie, but he’s almost immediately taken out by Rafa Márquez and Héctor Moreno. The Dutch have a good shout for a penalty, but the referee waves play on. Likely hoping to get into the airconditioning as soon as possible.
Netherlands: Cillessen; De Vrij, Vlaar, Blind; Kuyt, Verhaegh, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Sneijder; Van Persie, Robben
Mexico: Ochoa; Rodriguez, Salcido, Marquez, Aguilar, Layun; Herrera, Moreno, Guardado, Dos Santos; Peralta
Question for the second half
What are we doing kicking off at 1 p.m. in Fortaleza?
This is the first time we’ve had an early kickoff at Estádio Castelão. It’s understandable that Brazil wanted to spread out this World Cup, of course. But a quick glance at Google shows that highs in June are regularly above 85, but what’s worse is that the humidity hovers around 90%, even reaching up to 100%. While leagues do play in these sorts of conditions, it’s typical that they will schedule kickoff for 7 p.m. or later, hoping to avoid the worst heat of the day.
While it can be argued that teams should have prepared for just these sorts of conditions, it should also be taken into consideration that the players just don’t look well. Is a bout of heat stroke really worth it?
It’s most likely that Mexico will be able to take advantage, looking the fitter side and probably more accustomed to the high temperatures. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come at the expense of a player’s health.