In football World Cup David V Goliath battles are quite common, and the giant killing David’s are the neutrals favourites. Costa Rica, a North American nation are the giant killers in FIFA 2014 World Cup. An unknown football nation before the World Cup has so far accounted for 3 former champions in Italy, Uruguay and England. Up next on their way are one of the favourites for Brazil 2014 – Netherlands. The Oranje are riding high on a brilliant attack consisting of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneidjer. They dismantled defending champions Spain in style on their opening encounter and hasn’t looked back since then.
In the last quarter finals of Brazil 2014, Netherlands starts as the favourites due to their superiority in all departments. Costa Rica are outsiders once again, but nothing can be taken for granted as the Costa Ricans are upsetting the odds quite regularly in this marquee event. Netherlands V Costa Rica is going to be a battle of different styles and there are some sub plots which will decide the outcome of this game.
Netherlands Attack vs Keylor Navas
Dutch side possesses two deadly strikers upfront with support arriving from flanks. Arjen Robben, traditionally a winger is deployed as a forward along with skipper Robin Van Persie. The duo failed to beat an inspirational Mexico keeper Guilermo Ochoa in their last game, still Netherlands attack found a way past the opposition defence in dying minutes. Netherlands attack will be aided by the creativity of Wesley Sneidjer and the width is expected to be provided by Memphis Depay and Dirk Kuyt.
In this match, Netherlands attack will come up against an inform goal keeper in Keylor Navas. One of the best goal keepers in the World Cup, Keylor Navas, has already put up exceptional performances to deny world famous attacks. If he continues his Spider-man performances behind the bar, Netherlands will find it difficult to find a way into the back of the net. Can Keylor Navas keep the Netherlands attack at bay?
Daley Blind vs Bryan Ruiz
The all round performance by Daley Blind has been a huge positive for Netherlands. He has played exceptionally well as a left wing back and as a center midfielder in this World Cup. The versatile Dutchman might be deployed in a defensive midfield role against Costa Rica in the absence of suspended Nigel De Jong. Apart from his defensive duties, Daley Blind has produced some exceptional deliveries which resulted in goals for Netherlands.
Costa Rica are a dangerous counter attacking side, and the biggest threat they posses is their skipper Bryan Ruiz. Former Fulham midfielder needs to get the better of Daley Blind in-order to break the opposition defence in this battle. Bryan Ruiz will also have to play a role in preventing Daley Blind from putting dangerous balls into Costa Rica’s penalty box. The battle of Daley Blind V Bryan Ruiz is likely to set the pattern of this match in Salvador.
Stefan De Vrij vs Joel Campbell
Considering the counter attacking nature of Costa Rica, Netherlands are likely revert back to a regular back four instead of a 3-man defence. At the heart of the Netherlands defence will be Manchester United target Stefan De Vrij. In the absence of a sweeper, Stefan De Vrij needs to be on top of his game to negate the directness and pace of Costa Rica’s young forward Joel Campbell.
Joel Campbell’s reputation is growing at the World Cup after a number of good performances. Even though he has scored only one goal in this tournament, Joel Campbell has been a menace for the opposition defenders. The youngster has lead the line admirably well, running the channels and working out the space for others. Stefan De Vrij needs to keep an eye on the Arsenal forward to ensure Netherlands victory.
Netherlands V Costa Rica battle might look one-sided on paper, but on the field there are 11 players against 11, and whoever wins the small battles will have the upper hand. The dark horses in this tournament have the chance to add one more feather in their cap, will Oranje prove too strong for the Americans?