Update: Costa Rica has lost the match against Holland 3-4 in penalty kicks, after ending 120 minutes of 0-0 soccer. The Ticos played magnificently, mostly defending most of the match, but were unable to pull off a historic victory. Netherlands will move on to play Argentina in the semifinals. However, Costa Rica can be proud of their historic run.
The Costa Rica vs Netherlands (Holanda) quarterfinal match will take place on Saturday, July 5 2014 (1:00 PM Pacific) at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Bahia.
After some striking performances during the group stage, Holland was forced to do some extra work in their Round of 16 match against Mexico last Sunday. The Dutch side struggled to overcome a well organized Mexican side and in fact was never able to disrupt Miguel Herrera’s 5-3-2 solid tactical scheme, especially during the first 65’ minutes of the match. When everyone thought that Mexico would go through to the next round of the tournament, Holland clinched two goals in about four minutes’ time and earned a ticket to the Quarter-Finals stage.
The “new” clockwork orange has, let’s say, a different tic-tac from the one Rinus Michels developed more than 30 years ago. Louis Van Gaal doesn’t have footballers such as Ruud Gullit or even Marco Van Basten at his disposal, but he managed to develop a strong team filled with young and talented players that dwell around the experience and expertise of Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Robin Van Persie. The future Manchester United manager also changed the team’s former tactical approach and surprised everyone by introducing a somewhat conservative and hybrid 5-3-2 formation that is proving to be fairly effective so far.
For the match against the surprising Costa Rican side, the Dutch manager will not be able to rely on the contribution of Nigel de Jong, a very important player on the team’s structure, since he is sidelined due to injury. Despite the absence of the AC Milan’s midfielder, it is not very likely that Van Gaal will implement deep changes in the team’s formation, apart from bringing in De Guzman or even Leroy Fer to replace the powerful defensive midfielder.
As for Costa Rica, this match against Holland represents a fantastic landmark, since it is the first time that the team reaches the Quarter-Finals stage of a World Cup tournament. Los Ticos are probably the most interesting and impressive surprise of the competition and what they have achieved so far is quite remarkable. After helping Italy and England to pack their bags during the group stage, Costa Rica was apparently stunned by Greece on their Round of 16 match last Sunday, on what probably was the Greeks’ best display during the entire tournament. Nevertheless, with just 10 men for a large period of the match, Costa Rica forced Greece into the penalty shootout where they benefited from having a far better goalkeeper, Levante’s “doorman” Keylor Navas.
Costa Rica vs Netherlands Prediction
Costa Rica’s manager Jorge Luis Pinto, really did his homework during the team’s preparation before the Word Cup, as he implemented a very effective 5-4-1 tactical approach that is easily transformed into a 4-3-3 conventional style during the team’s fast attacking movements with Bolaños and Bryan Ruiz lurking behind Joel Campbell, the lone ranger up there in the front.
For the match against the Dutch team, Jorge Luis Pinto will not be able to count on the versatile Oscar Duarte, who was sent off on the team’s last match against Greece.
The former European champions have to be considered favourites for next Saturday’s match, mostly because of their international experience and also because of their rich football history. There is no such thing as logic in the so-called modern football but one can easily understand that Holland have a better team than their Central American rivals and that alone might be enough for them to win next Saturday’s match by 2-0.
Costa Rica vs Netherlands Television
The match will be televised on ESPN, Univision and ESPN 3 (stream).
The Netherlands (5-3-2) – Cillessen – Janmaat – Blind – Vlaar – Wijnaldum – De Vrij – Martins Indi – Fer – Sneijder – Robben – Van Persie
Costa Rica (4-3-3) – Keylor Navas – Y. Tejeda – Giancarlo Gonzalez – Acosta – Michael Umana – Junior Diaz – Gamboa – B. Ruiz – Bolaños – Joel Campbell
Venue: Arena Fonte Nova
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)