Costa Rica were supposed to be the weakest team in a pool with three former World Cup winners, but the Central American side were the first to progress to the next stage. In the round of 16 they also managed to defeat Greece and to advance to the quarter-finals after a thrilling penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw after extra-time. Costa Rican striker Bryan Ruiz scored the first goal of this game in the 52nd minute. Only 14 minutes later Duarte was sent off, leaving Costa Rica one man down. Greece pressed for the equaliser and was rewarded in injury time when Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored a dramatic goal and the odds had seemed stacked against Los Ticos. However, Keylor Navas, Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, became the hero of the night. He showed a great performance and undoubtedly saved the match for his team on several occasions. And in the shoot-out, he made the crucial save that won the shootout to send his team into the quarter-finals.
Two late Dutch goals turned the game against Mexico around
It looked promising for Mexico in their Round of 16 game against the Netherlands, especially when Giovani dos Santos scored the 1-0 in the 48th minute to take the lead for Mexico. The Mexican chested down a headed clearance, tracked the ball across the defence before shooting from distance and find the bottom right-hand corner of the net with a left-footed half volley. However, the Dutch never gave up and it was Wesley Snijder who scored the equaliser in the 88th minute. In injury time Arjen Robben dived for a penalty in the box and Jan-Klaas Huntelaar converted the penalty to send his team into the quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Mexico and complete a comeback that will be remembered for years.
Holland are clear favourites against Costa Rica
Holland will play against Costa Rica in the quarterfinal on Saturday. On paper, the Dutch are heavy favourites to win this game. According to the bookmakers, the Netherlands will make it to the semi-final stage (winning odds of 1.55). Those who bet on the outsider from Central America can get a high odd of 8.20. Defender Roy Miller will miss Costa Rica’s historic World Cup quarterfinal due to a left foot injury. Costa Rica’s coach Jorge Luis Pinto is optimistic and says their penalty shootout win over Greece has left the underdogs hungry for another scalp in the quarter-final. It will be interesting to see who will make it through to the semifinals.