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FORTALEZA, Brazil – The inexperienced Dutch defense looked to be the weak link coming into the World Cup. So far, though, it's holding up well enough to keep the team winning.
Again showing he is not afraid to make changes, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal gave defender Paul Verhaegh only his third international appearance against Mexico in the second round, replacing Daryl Janmaat at right back.
The Augsburg player struggled early against pacey Mexico wingback Miguel Layun on Sunday, but the Netherlands' defense conceded only one goal and its lethal front line came to the rescue late to salvage a 2-1 victory.
Much of the credit goes to Van Gaal's savvy tactical switches in the second half, which took the pressure off the back line and got the Dutch going forward.