The Netherlands will look to use their World Cup-leading offense to halt Costa Rica’s surprise 2014 World Cup run when the two take to the pitch in their quarterfinal showdown on Saturday, July 5th.
Both teams had to survive hard-fought battles in their Round of 16 matches in order to reach this contest but the Costa Rican team remains as 1 goal underdogs.
Netherlands vs. Costa Rica World Cup Quarterfinals Odds
Line: Netherlands (-1, -225) vs. Costa Rica (+1, +105)
Over/Under Total 2.5
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The Netherlands needed a spectacular late-match comeback to overcome feisty Mexico 2-1 on Thursday in what was, by far, their toughest match to date.
Prior to that, the Netherlands got their 2014 World Cup started off with a shocking 5-1 blowout of Spain before following that up with a solid 3-2 win over Australia and a 2-0 shutout of Chile in the Group B finale.
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The Netherlands have scored a cup-leading 12 goals while allowing just four defensively. This team is attempting a whopping 13.8 shots per match, just above the World Cup average of 13.1 shots attempts per match.
Veteran striker Rob Van Persie and forward Arjen Robben have each scored three goals to lead the Netherlands overpowering offensive attack. Van Persie went on record recently to say that he believe the Dutch men can bring home the bacon at the 2014 World Cup.
"Everyone feels we can win it – that it really is possible," Van Persie told The Daily Mirror. "To be the captain of this squad makes me incredibly proud, It’s a huge honor to be here, at this stage, wearing the armband, because we are a real team. All 23 players are important and also the technical staff. The way they prepare for competitions is unprecedented, I’ve never before known a level like it."
Costa Rica kept its incredible World Cup run – and its ‘unrealistic’ chances of winning it all – as alive as can be despite facing more adversity in their last match than they had in each of the three prior matches combined.
Costa Rica kicked off its 2014 World Cup with an emphatic 3-1 smackdown against over-hyped Uruguay and disgraced forward Luis Suarez before handling Italy in its surprising 1-0 victory. The Costa Rican men then closed out their group play by beating Greece 5-2 on penalty kicks after the two played to a 1-1 tie in regulation.
The Costa Ricans have scored just five goals in four matches, but the stingy defense has limited the opposition to just two goals, tied for the second fewest in the 2014 World Cup.
The bad news is that this team is attempting just eight shots per match, well below the cup average of 13.1 shots per match. Still, this team has shown a serious amount of perseverance in coming back with a man deficit no less, to beat Greece 5-3 in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16.
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas has made several crucial saves this tournament, but the Costa Ricans will almost assuredly have to find a way to score more than one goal in any of their remaining matches.
To get more insight on Navas’ training regiment view this video:
Costa Rica assistant coach Paulo Wanchope insists Costa Rica has now become the best story of the 2014 World Cup.
“The weakest team on paper will always have the support and the world will want Costa Rica to win,” Wanchope, the former Manchester City and West Ham United forward, said. “I remember Cameroon in 1990 – big upsets – but I think this is the best upset. It is the best story.
“Everyone will expect Holland to win [the quarter-final],” Wanchope added. “We will have no pressure and, for sure, I know the players will be ready for that game. We have a great chance. Anything can happen. Everyone will think and expect Holland to win, but with Costa Rica, we have shown a lot of things, a lot of qualities in this World Cup.”
Costa Rica will battle the Netherlands without key defenseman, Oscar Duarte who was suspended for this match after receiving two yellow cards the last time out.
My Netherlands vs. Costa Rica World Cup Quarterfinals Pick
While I, like everyone else, have been very surprised by Costa Rica’s strong World Cup showing, I’m quite certain that the Netherlands are going to bring Costa Rica’s 2014 World Cup run to an emphatic end in this match, simply because they are the far stronger offensive club.
In addition to playing the Netherlands to win this match outright, I also like the Over to narrowly play out in what looks like a 3-1 Netherlands win waiting to happen.