Netherlands vs Costa Rica World Cup 2014 match preview: Five reasons why Netherlands will beat Costa Rica
The sides meet in a quarter-final in Salvador bidding for a place in the last four
Friday 04 July 2014
Ahead of Saturday's quarter-final meeting, we find a few reasons for Netherlands to be feeling optimistic against Costa Rica.
Goals, goals, goals
If there is one thing you are guaranteed to see when the Netherlands take to the field, it is that they will find the back of the net. Louis van Gaal’s side are the tournament’s top scorers, with 12 goals – an average of three per game.
The Dutch demolished reigning champions Spain in their opening group game, beating the seasoned Iker Casillas an incredible five times. This was followed by three against Australia, and a double past a strong, well-organised Chilean outfit.
Even when it seemed the goals had dried up, with the Oranje heading out to Mexico, two late strikes in as many minutes restored normality, sending them through to the last eight.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar celebrates his winning goal
Louis van Gaal is a manager renowned for applying positive and attacking football. It has always been the Dutch way and the current boss has certainly instilled this philosophy into the current crop of players.
The Netherlands have been one of the tournament’s most exhilarating sides to watch, with the speed, skill and fluidity of their attacks being breath-taking at times.
And with Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder on the flanks, it only takes a flash to go from defending a corner to celebrating a goal. Costa Rica will need to constantly be on their toes, putting on the defensive performance of a lifetime. Otherwise, they will almost certainly be sent packing and put on the next plane home.
Big game players
The Netherlands boast an array of world-class talent in their ranks, who on their day are capable of overcoming any opponent put in front of them. At only 22, centre-back Stefan de Vrij has proven to be a solid and reliable player, as well as showing his capabilities at the other end by netting against Spain.
Daley Blind has received numerous plaudits for his performances at left-back and has a great future ahead. Meanwhile, the Dutch have the experienced and ever-reliable Nigel de Jong dictating the midfield. However, it is in attack where Louis van Gaal’s side really flourish.
In Arjen Robben, they possess one of the most skillful and dangerous wingers in world football. Add to that one of the planet’s most deadly and unpredictable strikers in Robin van Persie, and you have a formidable team.
Experiencing in winning trophies
No, we are not talking about the Netherlands’ experience of winning. In fact, although the Dutch have contended three World Cup finals, they have never actually won the coveted trophy.
We are talking about the experience of winning domestic trophies throughout the current squad. Jasper Cillessen and Daley Blind were both part of the Ajax team which won the most recent Eredivisie title. Nigel de Jong has tasted Premier League and FA Cup success during his time with Manchester City, while Jonathan de Guzman was part of Swansea’s League Cup winning side.
Furthermore, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Perise have collectively won two Champions League titles, three Premier League titles, three Bundesliga titles, two La Liga titles and a Serie A title. If there are players from any country who know all about being successful, they are from the Netherlands.
Costa Rica have gone as far as they can as underdogs
Costa Rica are undoubtedly the surprise package at this World Cup. However, there has to come a point when things start going to plan. Having massively overachieved to progress from Group D as winners, Costa Rica earned themselves a favourable round of 16 draw against Greece.
But the energy-sapping group games seemed to take their toll against Greece, the Central Americans looking tired, sluggish and vulnerable for the first time. Fortunately, they hung on until penalties and came out as victors. However, should Costa Rica take Saturday’s quarter-final to extra-time, the Netherlands – with their superior ability and superior fitness – will be far too much to handle and no shootout will be required.
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