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Costa Rica vs Greece - World Cup R16 match preview

The Costa Ricans won't feel too bad about Greece shockingly knocking Ivory Coast out of the tournament. Although the Ticos would be favorites against either team, they might have an easier task against Greece. Los Ticos are the biggest story of this tournament so far but their victories against Uruguay and Italy are already a bit forgotten and now they'll have to perform when push comes to shove to make the headlines again.

Although Greece are a notorious underperformer in the World Cups, this time they've managed to progress past the group stage and it was very difficult and very dramatic. Greece scored a penalty kick in the 93rd minute to win 2-1 against Ivory Coast and break the Ivorian hearts as The Elephants needed a point from that match to qualify. Greece needed all three. So here they are, winning the second spot in Group C with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan.

Greece were made vulnerable by all three sides, especially Colombia and Japan, and only in their final match against Ivory Coast they have delivered a pretty solid - but not good - performance. It remains to be seen whether Greece will manage to progress through the ranks of this World Cup with such performances, or was qualifying for the round of 16 everything they can do.

This will be a duel between a defensive side and a side that attacks from all directions. Costa Rica have performed amazingly well in offense and showed a wide arsenal of offensive weapons, making it seem as if they can score from almost any position, finding a way to make the action dangerous. Their playing style can not be overly analized, it's just good and it works. It worked against Uruguay, it worked against Italy, and it didn't quite work that well against high-tempo England. In two first matches in particular, coach Jorge Luis Pinto find a way to win. He is the most important figure in this team, the victory against Italy was all his as he found a way to take away the area in which the Italians are the most comfortable. Costa Rica caught the Italians off side 11 times, rendering Andrea Pirlo's through balls useless.

Costa Rica are favored to win this match but it will be a real test of their quality. Jorge Luis Pinto must have came up with something special for this match, and there's no doubt he will find the best tactics. Greece and Fernando Santos will likely opt for a defensive approach although they can play a more forward game with their direct passing through the wings, although that strategy also depends on counter attacks so the Greek forward players - none of them too technical - can have enough space.

The match is played on Arena Pernambuco in Recife.

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