The Netherlands are overwhelming favourites to progress to the semi-final, but Costa Rica have already sprung plenty of surprises to get this far.
We look at the three key men Louis van Gaal and Jorge Pinto will rely on in Salvador and see what they must do to ensure it is their team in the semi-final.
Nigel de Jong was arguably the most important player in Louis van Gaal's 5-3-2 formation, providing the perfect defensive cover for the likes of Arjen Robben and the wing backs to get forward. The Netherlands had been the best team in the tournament until the Mexico match, because De Jong had been fit. Now he's missing, Van Gaal will likely pick Blind in that role - the Ajax left back has earned rave reviews for his forays along the touchline but now must temper his attacking instincts. He has played the position plenty of times but it will also force Van Gaal to tweak the way he approaches the game.
World Cup 2014: A World Cup XI of players linked to Premier League clubs
World Cup 2014: A World Cup XI of players linked to Premier League clubs
1/11 GK: Guillermo Ochoa
(Free agent – Liverpool) As of July 1, the Mexican goalkeeping hero is a free agent and, according to his agent, over 20 clubs has already enquired about his availability. Ochoa put in an inspired performance against Brazil which alerted the likes of Liverpool, and his contract at French Ligue 2 side Ajaccio has just expired. The Merseyside club have also been linked to another World Cup goalkeeper in the form of Costa Rican penalty shoot-out star Keylor Navas, but the 27-year-old will cost upwards of £6.5 million from Levante.
2/11 RB: Serge Aurier
(Toulouse – Arsenal, Tottenham) The Toulouse right-back was a shining light in an otherwise indifferent World Cup campaign for Ivory Coast. While still a raw talent, the 21-year-old looked lively going forward and provided the assists for both of his country’s goals against Japan. His form has seen him linked with a move to Arsenal although it is understood that PSG could beat both Arsenal and Tottenham to his signature.
3/11 CB: Hector Moreno
(Espanyol – Tottenham, Manchester United, Hull City) Barring Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Moreno was Mexico’s star turn at the World Cup this year. Before he broke his shinbone against Holland, the 26-year-old was being linked to the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Hull City but now faces five months on the sidelines. While a move this summer is now off the cards, it is believed the Espanyol defender has also attracted interest abroad from Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus and may make a move in January.
4/11 CB: Raphael Varane
(Real Madrid – Chelsea) Varane was signed by Jose Mourinho during his tenure at Real Madrid and it appears the Portuguese wants to bring him to Stamford Bridge this summer. Varane has looked assured alongside Laurent Koscielny at the World Cup, and is still only 21-years-old, which suggests that he could be a long term replacement for John Terry. Indeed, the current England duo of Cahill and Terry at the heart of Chelsea’s defence could well be usurped by a French pair in the not too distant future, with fellow starlet Kurt Zouma also joining Chelsea this summer.
5/11 LB: Daley Blind
(Ajax – Manchester United) One of several Holland stars linked with a move to Manchester United this summer following the appointment of Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal. It is largely acknowledged that United need completely rebuild their back four after the departure of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, so Blind’s versatility makes him likely option. With Luke Shaw already signed and Thomas Vermaelan seemingly on the way, Blind may be the final piece of a new-look back four at United ahead of their new era under Van Gaal.
6/11 CM: Paul Pogba
(Juventus – Chelsea, Manchester United) Having already secured the signing of Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is reported to be in the market for a midfield partner to add some steel in the centre of the park. Frenchman Pogba certainly fits the bill for Chelsea, although he won’t come cheap. Juventus rate the former Manchester United youngster at around £60 million and after a string of strong performances in Brazil, including a goal against Nigeria, his price tag is unlikely to drop anytime soon.
7/11 CM: Sami Khedira
(Real Madrid - Arsenal, Chelsea) Another option for Chelsea is German defensive-midfielder Sami Khedira, who Mourinho rates highly from his time in the Spanish capital. Arsenal are also looking for a holding midfield player as they struggle to deal injuries to the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby. Khedira has had to settle for substitute appearances when representing Germany of late, but has looked composed on the ball when given his chance at the World Cup finals.
8/11 AMR: Alexis Sanchez
(Barcelona – Liverpool, Arsenal) Speculation has linked the Chilean attacker with a move to Liverpool this summer in a player-plus-cash deal for Luis Suarez. Over the last few days, however, Arsenal seem to have moved into pole position with the player preferring a move to London if he was forced to leave Barcelona. It is thought that Barcelona want a quick sale for Sanchez with new manager Luis Enrique keen to reinvest money from player sales to bolster his aging squad, and Sanchez could be one of those sacrificed.
9/11 AMC: Arturo Vidal
(Juventus – Manchester United, Arsenal) One of the outstanding performers at the World Cup with an excellent domestic record behind him and an growing line of suitors including Real Madrid, Manchester United and Arsenal. The Chilean international has been valued at around £50 million by his club Juventus and it is understood United are willing to offer £48 million for the all-action midfielder. With Manchester United looking to rebuild their side around a strong midfield, Vidal could be the man for Louis van Gaal.
10/11 AML: Angel Di Maria
(Real Madrid – Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United) The Argentine midfielder reportedly sees his future away from the Bernabeua and a host of English clubs have quickly moved to attain his services. Real Madrid's £40 million asking price may even deter the likes of of Manchester City, whose spending has been capped for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, but Arsenal are in the market for a marquee signing and Manchester United seem willing to go to any lengths to rebuild their squad this summer.
11/11 ST: Enner Valencia
(Pachuca – West Ham, Newcastle, Everton, Leicester City, Arsenal) Enner Valencia, a surprise package at the World Cup for Ecuador, has come from the obscurity of Mexican football to bag himself three group stage goals in impressive fashion. The 25-year-old has attracted attention all over Europe and now a host of clubs are fighting it out for his signature. Newcastle appeared to be favourites to sign hin, but today West Ham have emerged as surprise contenders to sign the striker who boss Sam Allerdyce hopes with spearhead a new generation of attacking football at the club.
Love him or loathe him, Robben - perhaps bar Neymar - has been the stand out player of the tournament. His diving and theatrics mean he will never get the credit he deserves, but the Bayern winger is one of the very, very best in the world. He may still have a streak of greed that is detrimental but his pace, dribbling and finishing mark him out as the Oranje's most potent threat.
Robin van Persie
A lacklustre performance against Mexico led to Van Gaal hauling his captain off with 15 minutes remaining - the comeback came when he was off the pitch. But despite his poor performance in the Fortlaeza heat, Van Persie is still a match-winner with more than enough quality to see his side through. His three goals in the opening two matches are testament to that.
The Costa Rican goalkeeper has been brilliant in the tournament to this point and will have to continued that form if his side are to stand any chance against the Dutch. The Levante goalkeeper has been outstanding all the way through but was pushed to his very best in the last-16 tie against Greece. With Costa Rica down to 10 men and the Greeks piling on the pressure, Navas produced a couple of saves to force the shoot-out - he then produced a brilliant save from Theofanis Gekas, sending Los Ticos through. He faces another tough test against Robin van Persie and Co.
Their skipper is the heart and soul of this team, typifying the hard work and effort Costa Rica have applied to get to this stage. He is sixth among players who have covered the most distance while not in possession - not including players from Friday's quarter-finals - having covered 17.9km without the ball at his feet. When he does have the ball he is more than capable, with an 81.8 per cent pass completion rate and he rarely fouls, having committed just three in four matches. Borges must put in another lionhearted performance in the centre of midfield tonight.
Skipper Bryan Ruiz will also play a big role but Costa Rica look to the Arsenal striker to be provide their match-winning spark. He's provided a goal and an assist in the four games but his selfless work as the lone striker really sets the tone for the rest of the XI and he has the quality should a chance fall his way. Costa Rica have already caused four upsets in this tournament, why can't they make a fifth?Reuse content