Sunday, July 6, 2014

World Cup 2014 QF : Netherlands vs Costa Rica 0-0 ( 4-3 via penalties)

The last of the QF matches between Netherlands & Costa Rica was a damp squib. It went goal less through full time & extra time & the Dutch finally crossed the line via penalty shoot outs. Costa Ricans were surprisingly subdued today, & lacked the bite they had shown earlier in the tournament. Having come up as toppers from the Group of Death, one expected them to be more confident. However, they played with a plan in mind & that was to somehow push the game into penalties, which they believed was their best chance to topple the men in Orange. With goalkeeper Navas, almost impregnable & on a couple of occasions, the woodwork coming to their rescue, the Ticos managed to hold the irrepressible Dutch attack to a frustrating draw till the full time & then the extra time. Dutch despite having more than 60 % of possession were repeatedly thwarted by the Costa Rican defense & coach van Gaal looked worried. But he yet again produced a master stroke, by replacing the goalkeeper Cillessen with giant looking Krul with just minutes left for the end of extra time. Krul managed to unsettle the normally composed Costa Ricans & made two critical saves to take the Netherlands to the semis. What was their weak spot, became their sweet spot, as the Costa Ricans were caught off guard. For the first time, the men in Orange had won a penalty shoot out in the World Cup finals. The upset that I had thought might happen in the QF, did not.

They now face Argentina in the semifinals, which should be an excellent match for the game of football. Both the teams have brilliant ball players & both of them play open attacking game. The one to hold nerves & tempers should go through.