After a fourth straight victory with our featured picks here at The Sports Geek, we’re now up to 10-5-1 (+2.7 units) with our daily main picks. Overall, including the bonus selections, we’re at 13-6-1, good for positive 5.0 units. It’s been a great start to a thrilling 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Sunday’s early action will surely bring us another intriguing affair as two explosive sides square off in the round of 16.
While many were aware of the quality of the Dutch side entering Brazil, nobody could have foreseen the dominance they’ve shown thus far. Their thrashing of Spain in their opening match truly set the tone, and since that point they haven’t looked back. Netherlands have been prolific in attack and steady on defense, and enter against the Mexicans in blistering form. Though they finished as runners-up in South Africa, many are thinking 2014 can finally be their breakthrough.
Like the Dutch, Mexico also enter on a bit of a roll undefeated thus far in Brazil. Many presumed Croatia would advance ahead of them in Group A, but a second-half thrashing in the final minutes of their match-up propelled the Mexicans to a showdown against the Dutch. Mexico hasn’t progressed to the quarter-finals at a World Cup since they hosted it in 1986, and many are thinking this squad has the quality to end that streak. Manager Miguel Herrera has a spirited squad at his disposal that have shown they can play with anyone. It’s really a shame that one of these great sides will be eliminated at this stage, but that’s how it goes in these short tournaments. Find out who it will be with our official game selection below.
Netherlands vs. Mexico Betting Odds:
Netherlands (-110) / Draw (+260) / Mexico (+300)
Over 2.5 (+100) / Under 2.5 (-120)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Netherlands vs. Mexico Pick:
One thing the group stage made apparent about both of these two sides is that their offenses can be simply explosive. The Oranje attack looked unstoppable against arguably the world’s best in Spain, and Mexico’s quick strikes against Croatia were truly impressive. Both these squads can generate offense at will, although don’t count on this being much of a back-and-forth encounter.
The Dutch gameplan will be predicated around control. Manager Louis van Gaal is expected to allow the Mexicans the bulk of possession, letting his team simply soak up the pressure. However, when they do gain the ball, the Dutch break as quickly as any nation in the world. This was on full display against the Spaniards. They have deployed two wing-backs to push forward, allowing them to set up runs for the talented Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie. One of the key mismatches in this contest, will be the speed of that duo against the ageing core of the Mexican backline. Skipper Rafael Marquez has been excellent in his last World Cup, but facing the duo of Robben and van Persie is something he’s yet to be exposed to. The Dutch will gain the ball and quickly circulate it up to their lethal tandem, wreaking havoc on Mexico’s vulnerable defenders.
The other major shortcoming for Mexico in this match is the fact they’ll be without key midfielder Jose Juan Vazquez due to suspension. Vazquez has been a key cog in the middle of the pitch for Herrera’s tactics, and without him the Dutch should be able to win the majority of balls and control that area of the field. He sparks quick counters and wins his fair share of balls, and without him the likes of Wesley Sneijder and Daley Blind may be able to have a field day for the Dutch. It’s a big loss, and it remains to be seen if he can be replaced effectively.
Simply put, the Dutch are the superior side all over the field. They’ve responded extremely well to van Gaal’s tactics, and know what it takes to knock off inferior sides like the Mexicans. The Oranje will be content to sit back and counter when opportunity knocks. Their play on the flanks combined with the dynamic duo of Robben and van Persie should propel them to a comfortable victory against Mexico.
PICK = Netherlands (-110)
Bonus Pick = Over 2.5 Goals (+100)
The Dutch should manage at least two goals, and the Mexicans have the skill and quality to make it interesting. An early goal would really open things up and force the trailing team to go for it. At even money, this bonus wager is worth a shot.