NEW YORK -- Most players in Major League Baseball are either rooting for the United States or have seen their country get eliminated in this year's World Cup. But Red Sox third baseman Xander Bogaerts' experience has been a rare exception.
Bogaerts is from Aruba, one of the four constituent countries attached to the Netherlands, and he had a lot to cheer about Sunday, when the Dutch defeated Mexico 2-1 thanks to an extra-time penalty kick.
"Down 1-0, probably 80 something minutes, close to losing," Bogaerts said after cheering in the clubhouse earlier. "They tied it up, got the penalty, won 2-1."
The victorious penalty kick was the result of a somewhat controversial foul call in the box. Was it a fair call?
"Why not? It's helpful for my side," Bogaerts joked. "I'm rooting for them all the way. Hopefully, they can win it all.
"I used to play soccer as a kid but never thought I had enough talent. It's unbelievable how talented they are."
As for the Netherlands' chances, Bogaerts knows they have the talent, especially after falling short in the final to Spain in 2010.
"[The] Dutch are really good at soccer," he said. "Last World Cup, they came out second, so they're on a pretty good roll, and hopefully it continues."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Jake Kring-Schreifels is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.