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Netherlands vs Mexico preview - Sneijder in confident mood

Sunday, June 29, 2014 by PA

Wesley Sneijder believes the Netherlands can go one better than four years ago and win the World Cup, although that does not mean he is taking Sunday's last-16 opponents Mexico lightly.

The Oranje made it all the way to the final in South Africa in 2010, only to fall at the final hurdle as Andres Iniesta's extra-time goal secured Spain a 1-0 win.

They managed to exact some revenge for the defeat in Johannesburg by thrashing the reigning champions 5-1 in the their first match of Group B, which they went on to win at a canter thanks to victories over Australia and Chile.

Louis van Gaal's side will be looking to extend that winning run when they take on Mexico in Fortaleza on Sunday - a match Sneijder approaches with the pain of 2010 fresh in his mind.

"When I start a tournament, I always want to win it," the Silver Ball winner four years ago told FIFA. "And, of course, some are much easier to win than others.

"Four years ago, for example, it was a tough challenge for us but everything in the group was good and the whole process worked well for us.

"But we played the final and we lost. That was one of the toughest moments of my career so far.

"But the beautiful thing about football is that you always have the chance to gain a bit of revenge, and here we are four years later. And why can't we win it this time? I think we have a great team and a great spirit, so we have to go for it."

Netherlands coach Van Gaal has urged Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca to allow water breaks during Sunday's match, given the mercury is set to tip 30 degrees Celsius.

It is heat and humidity the Dutchman expects to give a helping hand to a Mexico side Sneijder is not taking lightly.

"We are very confident, but we always have to look to our next opponents and Mexico have a good team," the Galatasaray midfielder said.

"They're a tough team to play against so, yes, we'll have to concentrate and focus purely on this match. After that, let's see what happens."

The match offers Mexico the chance to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1986.

El Tri have fallen at the round-of-16 juncture in their last five World Cup campaigns and know if they can end that run a seemingly winnable last-eight clash with Greece or Costa Rica awaits.

Mexico qualified as runners-up to hosts Brazil in Group A and left wing-back Andres Guardado is confident they can spring a surprise at the Estadio Castelao.

"We're honestly not afraid of anything, we're happy to take on anyone and fully expect to come away with the win," the 27-year-old, with 105 caps to his name, said.

"We're going to go toe-to-toe (with the Netherlands), we're going to make their life difficult and prove to them that Mexico are no pushovers.

"We'll be gunning for a place in the next round, that's what we all really want."

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