Costa Rica‘s fairy tale World Cup continues as they defeated the Greece on penalties to reach the quarter finals of the tournament.
After a 1-1 draw after extra time, the north American side held their nerve to score every penalty in the shoot out and win 5-3.
The game had finished 1-1 after normal time following Sokratis Papastathopoulos’s injury-time equaliser for Greece.
Bryan Ruiz had put the surprise package Costa Rica into the lead just after half time with his second goal of the tournament.
Soon after, team-mate Oscar Duarte was red carder for a second bookable offence, leaving Costa Rica with 25 minutes to hold on.
Greece piled on the pressure and in stoppage Papastathopoulos managed to temporarily break Costa Rican hearts as he converted the rebound after Keylor Navas saved.
Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglu had a glorious chance to win it in stoppage time but the ‘keeper pulled off another fantastic save.
Extra time failed to separate the sides with Mitroglu having another effort saved.
In the shoot-out, both teams scored their first three penalties before a Theofanis Gekas miss allowed Michael Umana to win it for Costa Rica.
They will now go forward to meet the Netherlands who staged a dramatic late comeback against Mexico to secure their path into the last eight.
However, the game was not without its controversy, with the Mexican’s claiming that Arjen Robben had dived to win his side the stoppage time penalty which saw off the north American side.
The tempo of the game was affected by the heat and for the first time in the tournament an official cooling breaks were called.
After a first half in which both sides had good penalty shouts, Giovani dos Santos gave Mexico the lead with just two minutes of the second half gone with a powerful shot from outside the area.
The Dutch, who had struggled to find a rhythm in the heat, looked as if they were going out until the last five minutes when substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar inspired a comeback.
Wesley Sneijder struck with just two minutes left on the clock as he smashed in Huntelaar’s knock back from a corner.
Then as extra time loomed, the Netherlands won a controversial penalty as Arjen Robben was brought down by the experienced Rafael Marquez, who had another excellent game at the back.
Huntelaar stepped up calmly to slot home and win the game for Louis Van Gaal’s men.
Replays show that although there was contact, it was minimal.
Mexico will feel hard done by as at times they out played and out fought the Dutch but for the fifth World Cup in a row, they bow out at the round of sixteen.
With Costa Rica in the Quarter Final’s, the Dutch will be expecting to continue their run at the World Cup. into the Semi Final at least.
Today at the World Cup…
France vs Nigeria (17:00)
Germany vs Algeria (21:00)
Both European sides will expect to win against their African counterparts, the last two African sides in the competition. Both France and Germany should have enough strength to rise to occasion and set up a meeting in the Quarter Final.
The French and the Germans have arguably been two of the most impressive sides in the tournament so far, both possessing plenty of fire power. Thomas Muller and Karim Benzema are both in with a shout of winning the Golden Boot and a few goals today would not do their causes any harm.
For a full preview of the remaining Second Round matches, click here.Tweet