Netherlands v Costa Rica Preview

Quarter-Final | Saturday 05 July | Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador | 22:00




Netherlands needed a penalty deep in stoppage time to seal a 2-1 comeback win over Mexico and advance to a quarter-final against Costa Rica who beat Greece on penalties later Sunday to reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.

The Dutch now strongly fancy their chances of making the semi-finals for the third time in their last four World Cup appearances at the tournament.

To Win (90mins)
Netherlands 5/10
Draw 3/1
Costa Rica 58/10

NETHERLANDS

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored an injury-time penalty to complete a dramatic comeback for Netherlands in a 2-1 win over Mexico and book their place in the quarter-finals.

Giovani dos Santos opened the scoring for Mexico in sweltering conditions in Fortaleza, only for Wesley Sneijder and Huntelaar to net late goals and set up a meeting with the Central Americans.

The victory marked the first time in World Cup knockout round history that a team trailing in the 88th minute won in regulation time.

Robin van Persie was not at his best and the Dutch will be hoping he gets back to the form that bagged him his three goals after the first two matches.

The Manchester United striker had a couple of opportunities to beat the Mexican keeper, but he failed, and he couldn't do much to help his side in the sweltering conditions that the Dutch struggled in.

Arjen Robben was key in Netherlands’ win as he made a superb run into the box and was brought down – controversially – by Rafael Marquez to earn the stoppage time penalty.

Robben has been a candidate for player of the tournament and has bagged three goals for his country as they qualified from the group stages ahead of Spain, Chile and Australia.

COSTA RICA

Costa Rica booked their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, hanging on to defeat Greece on penalties after surviving a last-minute equaliser and a sending-off in Recife.

The Costa Ricans had to play for almost an hour with 10 men, and just had the legs to win 5-3 on penalties after the match finished level at 1-1 after extra time.

With his team down to 10 men for nearly an hour, Keylor Navas made sure Costa Rica's last line of defence held firm.

The goalkeeper came through with a string of stops in regulation and extra time and then made the only save in a penalty shootout to send Costa Rica through to the quarter-finals.

Jorge Luis Pinto’s side will face a highly rated Dutch team. Costa Rica looked exhausted after fending off the Greek fightback.

The Greeks had dominated the latter stages of the match, finishing with 57 per cent of possession and 13 shots to Costa Rica’s two, but Costa Rica hung in there to knock out a third European side.

Their star player was Bryan Ruiz, who was loaned out by Fulham to PSV in January. Ruiz was at the heart of everything positive about Costa Rica.

When he got the ball he showed the strength to hold off aggressive Greek marking and the subtlety to pick out his team-mates.

While they will again be tipped to fail, just as they were when drawn in a group that included Italy, Uruguay and England, they have shown that a solid team ethic, built on the foundation of meticulous preparation and rigid organization can help them upset the established pecking order.

The foundation for Costa Rica's success has been the system they play, with a rock-solid back five who have only conceded once in open play in their four matches to date.

Costa Rica had just two shots on goal, while the Greeks had 13 shots on goal and 24 shots overall.

However, that likely had a lot to do with key defender Oscar Duarte getting himself thrown out of the game after receiving a second yellow card.

Costa Rica will be hoping Duarte’s replacement fits in fine in an attempt to keep their solid record. The Ticos will also need their attackers to be at their best to breach the Dutch defence.

Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell have combined for three of Costa Rica’s five goals in this tournament and are inspirational for the Central Americans.

Betting PredictionNETHERLANDS 5/10
Both sides have been playing counter-attacking football in the tournament, and spot similar 5-3-2/5-4-1 formations, with three men in defence and wing backs sweeping up and down the flanks in support. Costa Rica no longer possess that surprise factor now that everyone has witnessed their exceptional run to the quarter-finals. Louis van Gaal will have studied his opposition in a hope to avoid a close encounter like their last-16 match. The Dutch are tipped for the victory without going into extra-time.

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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