2014 World Cup Quarterfinals: Costa Rica vs Netherlands

2014 FIFA World Cup – Quarterfinals
Costa Rica vs The Netherlands

Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova – Salvador, Brazil
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 4:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision
Money Line: Costa Rica +605 / Netherlands -185 / Draw +300
Point Line: Netherlands -1 -111 / Costa Rica +1 -109
Total: under 2.5 -135 / over +2.5 +115
Odds to advance to the semifinal: Netherlands -410 / Costa Rica +330
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Netherlands is a significant favorite to beat upstart Costa Rica in the World Cup quarterfinals Saturday in Salavador.
The Netherlands is a significant favorite to beat upstart Costa Rica in the World Cup quarterfinals Saturday in Salavador.

If you had Costa Rica as one of the last six teams in the 2014 World Cup, then I just have one question for you. What is the weather like in San Jose this time of year? No but seriously, Costa Rica has made a Cinderella run to the quarterfinals. The task gets much harder as Los Ticos take on the Netherlands Saturday in Salvador. The winner will take on the winner of Belgium and Argentina in the semifinals Wednesday. This is the first meeting between Netherlands and Costa Rica.

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.

The Netherlands are playing in their 10th World Cup. They have never won it but were runner-ups 3 times including in 2010 to Spain.

When the draw came out in December for the World Cup, Group B was widely considered one of the most treacherous of the 8 groups with defending champion Spain, runner up the Netherlands, a very good Chile  team and dark horse Australia. The Netherlands dominated the group with three wins over Spain 5-1, Australia 3-2 and last Monday against Chile 2-0 in Sao Paulo. The Dutch scored 10 goals and only allowed 3 in three matches.  Only Colombia who had a goal differential of +7 as well and France (+6) even approached the dominance of the Netherlands in their respective groups.

The Netherlands played Mexico in the Round of 16 Sunday in Fortaleza. Mexico took a 1-0 lead at 48 minutes on a goal from Giovani dos Santos. They held that lead until 88 min when Wesley Sneijder tied it up for the Dutch. Late in stoppage time, officials awarded the Netherlands a penalty kick when Mexico’s Rafa Marquez appeared to trip Arjen Robben in the box. Replays showed Robben embellished  somewhat to get the call as there was very little contact. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar buried the penalty kick and the Dutch escaped with the 2-1 win.

The Netherlands had 14 shots including 8 on target. Mexico had 12 and 7. Mexico had 12 fouls to 8 for the Netherlands. The Dutch had possession for 55% of the time. Nehterlands had 10 corners to 2 for Mexico. Netherlands had 5 saves to 3 for Mexico. Each side was called for offisides once.

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.

Costa Rica played Greece in the round of 16 Sunday in Recife. Costa Rica took a 1-0 lead at 52 minutes on a goal from Bryan Ruiz. At 66 minutes, Costa Rica defender Oscar Duarte was sent off after a red card. Despite playing a man down, Costa Rica held the slim lead until Greece tied it up a minute into stoppage time on a goal from Sokratis Papastathopoulos. In extra time neither team scored, and both sides looked gassed. In penalties Costa Rica made their first four kicks, and Greece made their first three. Costa Rican keeper Keylor Navas made a great save on Greece’s fourth shot from Theofanis Gekas.  Michael Umana buried his kick and Costa Rica won 5-3 in penalties to advance to the quarters for the first time ever.

Costa Rica had only 6 shots with 2 on goal. Greece had 24 and 13. Costa Rica had 23 fouls to 16 for Greece. Greece had possession for 57% of the time. Greece had 11 corners to 3 for Costa Rica. Greece was called offsides 10 times and Costa Rica wasn’t called at all. Costa Rica made 7 saves to 0 for Greece.

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. Duarte will miss the match against the Netherlands because of the red card against Greece. Defender Junior Diaz might have to pick up the defensive slack without. Keeper Keylor Navas has allowed only two goals in four matches. 

Costa Rica 4 goals in open space and no set piece goals. Costa Rica has 32 shots including 15 on target. They are 11/53 on crosses and have been called offsides 9 times. Costa Rica has 11 blocks and 14 saves. Costa Rica has won 25 of 86 tackles. Costa Rica has completed 1,284 passes.

The Netherlands is coached by Louis van Gaal. He will use a 3-4-1-2 line-up. Forwards Robin Van Persie and  Arjen Robben have scored 6 of the 12 goals so far for the Netherlands, each with 3. Memphis Depay has 2 goals but he is expected to come off the bench against Costa Rica. Midfielder Nigel De Jong is out for the rest of the World Cup with a groin injury. Keeper Jasper Cillisen has allowed 4 goals in four games.

The Netherlands has 12 goals and allowed 4 but surprisingly only one of the goals have come off set pieces. Eleven were open play goals. The Dutch have 55 shots including 41 on target. The Netherlands are 14/56 on crosses and have been called offsides 8 times. The Dutch have 7 blocks and 11 saves. The Dutch have won 18 of 67 tackles. They have completed 1,360 passes.

Costa Rica has gotten this far on the strength of their defense. It is one thing to beat a Greece team that struggles to score wiht only 6 shots, but Costa Rica can’t do that against the high scoring Dutch. I think the Netherlands ends the Cinderella run for Los Ticos winning rather easily like 3-1.

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