Undefeated Costa Rica have been the biggest surprise of this year’s World Cup in Brazil, but the Central American team's magic might be running out as they come up against European heavyweight Holland on Saturday night.
Costa Rica, ranked 34 in the world by FIFA as recently as May, hope to continue their fairytale run at the World Cup when they meet Holland in a quarter-final waltz in the northern city of Salvador.
The Central American team turned heads by finishing at the head of Group D, pulling upset victories against Uruguay and Italy – two teams ranked in FIFA’s Top 10 – in the first round of the tournament.
Led by the crafty playmaker and captain Bryan Ruiz, they have surprised teams with lightning counter-attacks and an unyielding defense.
Costa Rica held Greece, another World Cup underdog, to a 1-1 draw in their final-16 matchup on June 29. They eventually beat the European side on penalties, advancing to their historic-first appearance in the World Cup quarter-finals.
However, repeating a similar feat against Holland, which counts some of the world’s top players, will be close to impossible for Costa Rica.
Louis van Gaal’s orange-clad Dutch force have drilled in 12 goals in four games, ejecting defending champions Spain and regional powerhouse Mexico from the current tournament.
The offensive duo of Robben van Persie and Arjen Robben has proven dangerous at any moment of the game.
Down 1-0 against Mexico in their last match on June 29, Holland equalised with 12 minutes left in the game and netted another goal in extra time to move into the quarter finals.
Date created : 2014-07-05