Netherlands vs Costa Rica - 2014 World Cup quarter-finals match preview

Costa Rica have shined in the 2014 World Cup so far but now the most difficult task is ahead of them as they play Netherlands in the quarter-finals. The Dutch are here to win the title and get back what they think is rightfully theirs as they've lost the 2010 final to Spain 1-0, but they'll first have to take care of the biggest surprise team of this tournament.

Los Ticos have progressed through the ranks of this tournament with fantastic performances and created the biggest shock in World Cup group stage history as they topped Group D with England, Italy and Uruguay as the underdog of the group and the team expected to finish rock bottom. But, first they shocked Uruguay with a 1-3 victory and amazing attacking display, then changed the tactics and won 0-1 against Italy with generous usage of the offside trap, and finally kept England to a 0-0 draw to top the group with 7 points. In the round of 16 they met Greece, a very difficult opponent to play against, and conceded an equalizer in injury time to go to extra time and to eventually win the clash in penalty shootout.

All eyes will be on Costa Rica as this small Central American country with 4.5 million people finds itself in the quarter-finals of the World Cup among the biggest teams in the world. The defensive display has been quite good, helped by the offside trap which the Costa Ricans are using whenever they can, and in offense they have displayed a wide arsenal of weapons, with Joel Campbell being the key player.

The Netherlands have been hot and cold so far, shining against Spain in the opening round, winning against the current World and European champions 1-5, and then looking unrecognizable against Australia but they still won the match. They went on to beat Chile 2-0 and to top the group, getting Mexico instead of Brazil in the round of 16. Mexico looked like they'll win the match but the Dutch scored two late goals to win the clash. The Netherlands have yet to score less than two goals in regular time, and so far they've scored 12 goals in four matches, an average of 3.00. Arjen Robben is the key player but he isn't helped much by his team mates, Robin van Persie needing a good chance to convert it into a goal. All other players are average, and The Netherlands are depending heavily on their offensive line, Robben in particular.

The question to ask is can the Costa Rican offside trap prevent Netherlands, using long balls almost exclusively, from scoring. If Los Ticos can do it and can take away the best weapon of the Dutch team, they stand a chance in this duel. Uruguay, Italy and England all thought they're favored to beat Costa Rica and are home already.

The match is played in Salvador and Ravshan Irmatov from Uzbekistan will be the referee. The match starts at 21.00 UK time. The winner of this match will meet Argentina or Belgium in the semifinals on 9 July.

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