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Mexico blames ref for extending 2nd-round curse

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 29, 2014 at 11:27 pm •  Published: June 29, 2014

FORTALEZA, Brazil (AP) — Mexico's second-round curse at the World Cup remains unbroken.

Playing in the round of 16 for the sixth straight tournament, the Mexicans looked like they had finally done everything right against the Netherlands on Sunday.

Their rigid defense was holding the free-scoring Dutch at bay, goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made some spectacular saves, and their string of first-half chances produced a goal from Giovani Dos Santos just after the break.

It all unraveled in the 88th minute.

Ochoa couldn't be everywhere at Arena Castelao, and Wesley Sneijder finally beat him with a shot aimed low. A few minutes later, Klaas Jan Huntelaar won it for the Dutch, scoring an injury-time penalty to make it 2-1 after Arjen Robben was taken down by Rafael Marquez.

"The boys are very sad. It was really very painful to go out this way," Mexico coach Miguel Herrera said. "We were eliminated because of an invented penalty.

"We are going home now and so should the referee."

Herrera argued that Robben should have been cautioned by referee Pedro Proenca for two earlier penalty claims.

He also acknowledged, however, that his players lost their concentration in the final minutes of a match that was stopped twice for official cooling breaks.

Mexico has played at all but five of the 20 World Cups, reaching the quarterfinals as host in both 1970 and 1986, but has been unable to better their record since last hosting the tournament 28 years ago.

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