World Cup 2014 Match Day 17 Report

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Netherlands vs Mexico

Tournament favorites Netherlands took on Mexico in the first of the match day 17 matches hoping to maintain their 100% record and book their place in the quarterfinals.

The Dutch had their captain, Robin Van Persie, back after his one match suspension but it was the Mexicans with the first chance on goal as Herrera fired wide from just inside the area following good work from Peralta.

This was a sign of intent from the Mexicans and they had appeals for a penalty a few minutes later turned down but Vlaar’s high foot on Herrera went unpunished by the ref.

Van Persie had the Dutch’s first chance on goal but could only fire into the side-netting albeit from an acute angle.

The heat forced the game into two cooling breaks before Mexico had a chance to score only for the Dutch keeper to save from Dos Santos effort.

A few minutes later it was the Dutch’s time to have a penalty claim turned down after Robben was brought down in the box and the teams went into the break with neither of them finding the back of the net.

Mexico were fast out of the blocks after the restart and took the lead three minutes later through Giovanni Dos Santos. The Mexican striker lashing a bouncing ball into the bottom right corner from 25 yards out.

The Dutch keeper was on hand to deny the Mexicans a second a few minutes later and keep his team in the game.

Ochoa thought he had done enough by rushing from his line to deny Robben but a late substitution for the Dutch seemed to bring new life into the game.

Huntelaar, who had come on for Robin van Persie, headed the ball into the centre from a Robben corner and Sneijder was on hand to lash a shot into the bottom corner and bring the Dutch level.

The Dutch striker was the hero again as he converted a penalty deep into extra time after Robben was brought down in the box by Mexican captain Marquez. It meant heartbreak for the Mexicans who last reached the quarter finals in 1986.

In the other match the world cup’s dark horse Costa Rica took on Greece hoping to make history by making it to the last eight.

The Costa Ricans were high on confident having made it past the group of death that had European giants England and Italy and South American champions, Uruguay. This was clearly on show as they were the first on attack pegging the Greeks back in defense.

The first half failed to produce a goal despite both teams having chances on goal and the teams went into the break to rethink their strategies.

Costa Rica took the lead seven mintes into the second half with captain Ruiz the star man again, his fortuitous finish from 20 yards wrong-footing goalkeeper Orestis.

Despite the lead the Costa Ricans were reduced to 10 men as Duarte was sent off for a second bookable offence swinging the momentum back into the Greeks hands.

The Greeks pressed forward in numbers and were rewarded for the pressure with an equalizer in the dying minutes when Papastathopoulos rifled home after Navas had produced a fine save to deny Gekas.

The goal sent the match into extra time and it was all about the Costa Ricans’ resilience in defense as they kept out the Greeks sending the game into penalties.

The first few penalties were converted before the Costa Rican keeper became the hero as he saved Gekas effort and set up Umana to score the winning penalty.

The win sets up Costa Rica against the Netherlands in the quarter final and they’ll be hoping to keep up their winning streak against European footballing giants.

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