Dutch shoot into Semis

July 6, 2014 at 1:11 am
Posted under: 2014 FIFA World Cup, Costa Rica, Costa Rica News, Netherlands, Netherlands News, News

Jasper Cillessen (L) and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands sing the National Anthem prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica at Arena Fonte Nova on July 5, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jasper Cillessen (L) and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands sing the National Anthem prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica at Arena Fonte Nova on July 5, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Netherlands faced Costa Rica in the day’s second Quarter-final match, and the Dutch went into the game as hot favourites to join Argentina in the Semi-finals. The fixture at Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova ended on penalties, with the Netherlands wining 4-3.

Netherlands Coach Louis Van Gaal gave young forward Memphis Depay, his first start at the tournament after a positive impact every time he got on as a substitute in the previous games. The youngster didn’t disappoint as he was a headache to the South American team.

The Netherlands had 67 percent of ball possession as early as the 15th minute. Costa Rica did create a few chances but were not very concrete. Defender Cristian Gamboa crossed a few balls from the wing, but the Dutch defence made sure their goalkeeper was not threatened by the incoming balls.

The Netherlands could have scored in the 21st minute when Depay sent in a cross that found Robin Van Persie, but his shot was blocked by the foot of Costa Rican goalkeeper, Keylor Navas. On the other side of the pitch, Joel Campbell was a menace in the Dutch half. He never really threatened with shots on target, but his physicality and pace was a handful from time to time for the defenders.

The best chance for the Netherlands in the half was after Júnior Díaz brought down Arjen Robben, just outside the box. Wesley Sneijder took the free-kick which was curling into the top right corner only to be kept out by Navas’ hand to go for a corner kick.

Costa Rica’s organisation and closing down game carried on in the second half, but the Dutch were beginning to get agitated with not finding the back of the net. As the game went on, both teams brought on fresh legs. Marco Ureña came on for Campbell while Depay was replaced by Jeremain Lens.

The Netherlands came close to scoring the winner in the dying moments of regular time, with a Van Persie’s attempt hit the crossbar, but ultimately Costa Rica’s stubbornness dragged the game into extra time.

The Netherlands were more dominant in attack, as they were trying by all means to avoid the penalty shoot-out. The South American team was not as committed in attack; clearly they were playing for the penalties.

In the second half of extra time, Costa Rica played with more confidence as the Dutch seemed nervous ahead of the shoo-out. Their fears became evident when they replaced goalkeeper, Jasper Cillesen with Newcastle’s Tim Krul moments before the game headed for the penalties.

The Dutch have never won a penalty shoot-out at a world cup but were very clinical in the penalties as they converted them all. Van Gaal’s move to bring on Krul paid-off, as the goalkeeper saved two of Costa Rica’s penalties.

The Dutch win sets-up a tantalising encounter with Argentina, for next Wednesday at Arena de Sao Paulo with both teams eyeing a place in the final.

Bonginkosi Tiwane

 


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