Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup 2014 Costa Rica vs Greece 1-1 ( 5-3 via penalties)

Having moved into knock out stages from the Group of Death as toppers, I had expected Costa Rica to roller coast beyond Greece tonight. They were playing attacking football, they had better feel of the playing conditions whereas Greece had somehow managed to pip Ivory Coast to reach here. Also their ultra defensive game was not convincing enough. 
But it was Greece who looked purposeful in the initial part of the game, which was fast turning out to be laborious. In the 37th minute, Greece almost went ahead, as Cholevas swung the ball inside the box & Salpingidis came charging in....but Navas under the bar was brilliant in saving. At the half time, it was goal less, but Greece looked more enterprising. Their game plan was to score once & then shut down in defence. 
Their half backs were coming up in counter attacks & Samaras & Co were looking dangerous. 
However, in the 2nd half, it was Costa Rican who found the lead from no where. Lone forward Campbell, placed the ball to Bolanos who rolled the ball perfectly across the edge of the box & Ruiz fired in a low curling left footer shot into the net 1-0. Greece defense had been breached. Instead of the game becoming more competitive from here, it became physical & tardy. There were fouls galore & Oscar Duarte, in his attempt to thwart Cholevas, picked up his second yellow to be red carded, leaving the Costa Ricans with only ten men to defend the slender lead. 
Goalkeeper Navas, kept the defense organised & made a couple of inspired saves for the Costa Ricans, as the fourth official flashed 5 minutes of added injury time. Greece meanwhile, were mounting attacks & the ball hovered in the Latin American half dangerously. Finally, Geka's powerful half turn effort was palmed away by Navas, but onto the onrushing Sokratis who volleyed into the far end of the net. Greece had managed a last gap equaliser 1-1. Extra time did not produce any more goals, & for the 2nd time in the knock outs, the match went into penalties. 

Celso Borges converted the first shot for Costa Rica - ( Costa Rica 1 Greece 0) 
Konstantinos Mitroglou calmly send Navas the other way - ( Costa Rica 1 Greece 1) 
Bryan Ruiz, the captain cracks into the roof of the net - ( Costa Rica 2 Greece 1) 
Christodoulopoulos foxes Navas on wrong footing - ( Costa Rica 2 Greece 2) 
Gonzalez slams the ball down the middle - ( Costa Rica 3 Greece 2) 
Cholevas swings the ball brilliantly past Navas - ( Costa Rica 3 Greece 3) 
Joel Campbell foxes Karnezis on the wrong side - ( Costa Rica 4 Greece 3) 
Gekas well placed shot to the right is saved by a diving Navas - ( Costa Rica 4 Greece 3) 
Michael Umana looks in pressure, but converts the kick - ( Costa Rica 5 Greece 3) 

Costa Ricans move to quarter finals for the first time ever, beating Greece via penalty shoot outs. 
They now face the formidable Netherlands, who earlier in the day had escaped to victory over Mexico. 
It will be a tough match,as the Los Tico Costa Ricans take on Oranji Netherlands. It will certainly be a battle of nerves & maybe also frayed tempers. 

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