2014 World Cup – Round of 16
Costa Rica vs Greece
Itaipava Arena Pernambuco – Recife, Brazil
Sunday, June 29, 2014, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Greece +212 / Costa Rica +157 / Draw +200
Point Line: Costa Rica Pick -130 / Greece Pick +110
Total: under 2 -140 / over 2 +120
Odds to advance to Quarterfinals: Costa Rica -133 / Greece +113
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Of the eight round of 16 matches, the most unlikely matchup is between Greece and Costa Rica. However, the two teams will meet for the first time ever on a soccer pitch Sunday in Recife. The winner will face either Mexico or the Netherlands in the quarterfinals next week.
Neither Costa Rica or Greece have ever made it to the quarterfinals or beyond in the World Cup. Greece is playing in only their third World Cup and second straight. This is the first time Greece has ever made it out of the group stage. The greatest football moment for Greece came when they made a Cinderella run and won Euro 2004, upsetting host nation Portugal in the final. Costa Rica is making their fourth trip to the World Cup since 1990. Their first appearance in the Cup in 1990 was their best finish when they made it to the Round of 16.
Greece was placed into Group C when the draw for the 2014 World Cup along with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan. Colombia dominated the group by winning every game by a combined score of 9-2. The other three beat up on each other. Greece lost to Colombia 3-0 in the first match of the group, then played Japan to a scoreless draw. Greece beat Ivory Coast 2-1 in the last group game Tuesday to clinch second in the group with 4 points despite being outscored 4-2 in three matches.
Ivory Coast tied up the match at 74 minutes and would have advanced with a draw because they had a better goal differential than Greece. However, Greece was awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time and Georgios Samaras buried it in the back of the net to send Greece through.
Costa Rica was drawn into a very tough group along with former world champions Uruguay, Italy and England. Few if any outside of Costa Rica gave Los Ticos a shot of advancing out of such a challenging group. Not only did they advance but they won the group with 7 points. Costa Rica got off to a great start by upsetting 2010 semifinalist Uruguay 3-1, then beat Italy 1-0 to secure a spot in the knockout round for the second time ever. Costa Rica needed only a point against already eliminated England in the last match Tuesday to secure first in the group. Costa Rica and England played to a scoreless draw, and Los Ticos won a World Cup group for the first time in their history. Costa Rica outscored the other members of their group 4-1.
Greece is coached by Fernando Santos. Greece will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Greece is a team built on their defense and scoring is almost an afterthought. The Greeks are battling a couple of injuries to key players. Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis and defender Panagiotis Kone both left the match against Ivory Coast with injuries. Both are doubtful against Costa Rica, and could be replaced by Panagiotis Glykos and Andreas Samaris respectively. Samaris gave Greece a 1-0 lead in the first half against Ivory Coast. Greece captain Kostas Katsouranis is expected to return to the line-up after missing the last match-up due to a suspension.
Greece has only scored 2 goals in the tournament, both against Ivory Coast. The Greeks have 33 shots including 16 on target. Greece is 8/66 on crosses and had been called offsides 7 times. Greece has 13 blocks and 11 saves. Greece has won 18 of 64 tackles. Greece has completed 786 passes.
Costa Rica is coached by Jorge Luis Pinto. Costa Rica will use a 5-4-1 formation. Striker Joel Campbell and forward Bryan Ruiz are the top scoring threats and each has a goal in the World Cup. Defenders Oscar Duarte and Junior Diaz headline a strong back line. Keeper Keylor Navas has allowed only one goal in three matches.
Costa Rica 3 goals in open space and no set piece goals. Costa Rica has 26 shots including 13 on target. They are 9/36 on crosses and have been called offsides 8 times. Costa Rica has 7 blocks and 6 saves. Costa Rica has won 17 of 60 tackles. Costa Rica has completed 950 passes.
Like Greece, Costa Rica is built on defense. Both offenses can struggle at times, so goals should be at a premium. I think Costa Rica wins 1-0 but this game has a good shot of going into extra time or even penalties with no goals scored.
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