In the final game of the Quarter Final stages, Holland take on the surprise package of the tournament in Costa Rica. Whilst there are no easy games at these stages in major tournaments, Holland must be quietly relieved that they’ve got, at least on paper the easiest route to the semi-final. Mind you, I’ve thought this about every side that Costa Rica have come up against.
Yet, there is a contrasting difference between Holland and all the other sides Costa Rica have faced so far and that is a team in great form, with their best players shining at the tournament. In stark contrast to four years ago, Holland’s side are being praised for their style of football, which has largely been reliant on the brilliance of Arjen Robben. Their tournament didn’t get off to the best of starts going 1-0 down to holders Spain but since then, Holland have rarely looked back with Robben and Van Persie leading their attack, the Dutch have come back from behind in 3 separate games which is a record in a World Cup Finals. Looking beyond the star duo, joint top goalscorer in the last World Cup, Wesley Sneijder has been rather quiet but announced himself with a bang against Mexico as he volleyed in the equaliser, it is in these stages that Sneijder comes into life. Memphis Depay has been electric off the bench and the youngster is a serious handful for any defence, especially when Holland have so many other threats that Depay can often be the forgotten man.
Costa Rica’s success has by and large been down to their brilliant defence, having only conceded 2 goals so far, keepy Kaylor Navas has drawn plenty of plaudits and will need to be at his best if his side are to have any chance of succeeding. Up front, Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz can provide enough of a threat to a inexperienced Holland defence that has blown hot and cold and have been susceptible early on in games.
Holland’s vulnerability at the back means Costa Rica may fancy their chances early on but that will leave them exposed themselves. Back Robin van Persie to be the first goalscorer @ 3.75
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