Can Los Ticos continue with their upsetting ways? Or will the relentless Oranje extend their scoring ways?
Netherlands and Costa Rica figure out who will comprise the final four teams fighting for the World Cup as they measure each other's strength in the quarterfinal match Saturday at Fonta Nova, Salvador.
The most surprising team of the tournament, the Costa Ricans have surprised everybody by coming out on top of the so-called group of champions in the group stages upstaging the likes of Italy, England and Uruguay. In the round of 16, they again pulled a surprise by beating Greece to advance for the first time in the quarterfinal stages.
They have been a thorny bunch which is why the Dutch are not underestimating them.
"These games don't come easier. There are no easy games," Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar said earlier this week as reported by cbssports.com. "Costa Rica beat Uruguay and Italy and then drew against England. Then they beat Greece. It will be another hard game again, but we are really looking forward to it. It's a great challenge again."
Netherlands got by a squeaker and a bit of controversy on their way to the quarterfinals. They were able to make two late goals in as many minutes against Mexico. The first one a Wesley Snejider strike from a rebound on the top side while the next one a stoppage time penalty kick which has been the conversation for a number of days now.
Two minutes before stoppage time, Dutch forward Arjen Robben aggressively pushed the ball to Mexico's goal but ran into multiple defenders. He cut back but Rafa Marquez reached and caused Robben to fall down. The official blew the whistle and the rest is history.
This time around Netherland would like to control their fate and win convincingly. Having the distinction as the country with most World Cup Finals appearances without having to win one, the Dutch Eleven will attack, attack and attack. Louis van Gaal's team has been the most proficient offensively during the tournament with a total of 12 goals an average of 3 makes per game. They demolished reigning champion Spain in their opening group game and won over the experiences Iker Casillas in a five incredible times.
Costa Rica is not to be taken lightly. The Ticos' forwards Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell have been relentless and has given opposing defenses lots of concerns while goal keeper Keylor Navas has been efficient so far in defending the goal. The Dutch has shown it will go full offense the whole game and will make their offense their defense. They are led by Robben, Sneijder and Robin van Persire, skilled enough strikers that can counter-produce against the Costa Ricans.
How much can Costa Rica can contain the attacks of the Dutch Eleven will be the major theme of the upcoming match. Van Gaal is widely renowned to preach a lot of attacking, which has always been the identity of the team. This team he has the right personnel to carry out his vision and we will see if that can propel them to the semifinal round.
Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Jasper Cillessen; Bruno Martins Indi, Ron Vlaar, Stefan de Vrij; Dirk Kuyt, Daley Blind, Jonathan de Guzmán, Daryl Janmaat; Wesley Sneijder; Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie.
Costa Rica (5-4-1): Keylor Navas; Júnior Díaz, Michael Umaña, Giancarlo González, Johnny Acosta, Cristian Gamboa; Christian Bolaños, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz; Joel Campbell.