Football

World Cup 2014: Holland Leave it Late to Topple Mexico and Penalties Take Costa Rica to the Quarter-Finals

Holland 2-1 Mexico

Mexican hearts were broken by Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben in Fortaleza as the Dutch left it very late to beat Mexico.

The El Tricolor were on course to break their second-round hoodoo of successive eliminations in the last 16 since 1994 after a lacklustre first-half.

Miguel Herrera’s team were, as expected, superbly organised and the Brazilian heat stifled the Dutch threat during the opening 45 minutes—temperatures reached just under 39 degrees celsius.

Shortly after the interval Giovanni Dos Santos gave the Central Americans a shock lead. It prompted the Dutch into action but they were regularly thwarted by the heroics of goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

As the clocked ticked away, in the 88th minute, Sneijder rifled home a corner which was half cleared—the Galatasaray playmaker’s first meaningful contribution to the Oranje’s current World Cup campaign.

Two minutes later Robben, Holland’s brightest attacker despite spending the majority of the match looking for a penalty, was adjudged to have been fouled in the area by Mexican captain Rafael Marquez.

Substitute Klaas Jan Huntelaar rifled home the resultant penalty.

The Dutch will now take on Costa Rica next Saturday.

Greece 1-1 Costa Rica (Costa Rica won 5-3 on penalties)

History was always going to be created in Recife as Greece played its first match in the second round of a World Cup and Costa Rica had never progressed any further.

In a non-eventful first-half, it was the Greek gameplan which appeared to be working the better of the two. However, minutes are half-time, Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring with a smooth finish leaving the Greek defence and goalkeeper flat-footed.

Moments later, the La Sele could and should have had a penalty for handball.

The match turned on its head around the hour mark as Duarte was dismissed for his second caution resulting in Ethniki having a one man advantage.

Greece kept asking questions and eventually broke though as Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored an injury-time equaliser following up Theofanis Gekas’ saved shot.

Moments later Kostas Mitroglou’s bullet header required an acrobatic save from the impressive Keylor Navas.

As the match moved into extra-time, the pivotal point occurred when the Greeks failed to make the most of a five versus two counter-attack.

Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell, who had run himself into the ground was operating brilliantly on pure adrenaline to ease the pressure off his defence whenever possible.

By the end of the match, Greece’s endeavour was available for all to see.

Penalties ensued, with the first seven being expertly taken. Gekas missed Greece’s fourth and Michael Umana coolly converted his to create history for La Sele.

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RELATED ARTICLES

Last 16—Brazil’s prayers are answered and James Rodriguez announces his arrival onto the world stage

World Cup 2014 Knock-out round permutations

– Group A: Neymar’s goals continue to flow while Mexico book their place in the second-round

– Group B: Holland secure top-spot and Spain salvage some pride before returning home

– Group C: Greece rekindle the spirit of 2004 by beating the Ivory Coast while Colombia crank up another gear

– Group D: Uruguay advance ahead of Italy but Suarez ends his World Cup after another moment of madness

– Group E: Wasteful France still secure top spot and Shaqiri’s hat-trick results in Swiss progression.

– Group F: Messi goes from strength to strength against Nigeria

– Group G: Joachim Low is victorious in the battle of the Germans but Ghana’s implosion means Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys aren’t going home just yet

– Group H: Dark Horses Belgium Make it a Clean Sweep in Group H and Algeria make it to the second round

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