By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports Soccer Writer
Editor’s note: Each day between now and the kickoff of the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Nov. 20, we’ll unveil a different memory from World Cup history. The countdown from 101 continues with Mexico’s plea to the referees.
Mexico benefited from some good fortune just to make it to Brazil 2014 — if not for a late goal by their archrival United States versus Panama, El Tri would’ve failed to qualify out of CONCACAF — but there they were, just moments away from finally reaching the elusive quinto partido, or fifth game, at a World Cup.
Then their luck ran out. With just two minutes of the 90 to play, the Dutch made it 1-1 through Wesley Sneijder. Mexico captain Rafa Márquez was then whistled for tripping Arjen Robben inside the penalty box deep into second-half stoppage time.
‘No era penal’
Arjen Robben drew a controversial foul call in the box, and then the Netherlands scored on a penalty kick.
Replays showed that Robben had theatrically embellished the contact, if there was any at all. It wasn’t a penalty.
That didn’t matter. VAR was still four years away from its World Cup debut. Without video review, the call on the field stood, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored from the spot, and Mexico were eliminated in the round of 16 for the sixth straight tournament.
One of the leading soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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