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World Cup: Day 1 Round of 16

Costa Rica v Greece - FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 - Second Round

What a great (depending on your favorite team) first day of the knock out round. Real hearts in your throats stuff.

Unfortunately for Mexican fans, their team was eliminated by the Netherlands in a 2-1 loss. What a tremendous tournament Mexico had. They didn’t lose in the first round, holding favorites Brazil to a 0-0 tie, beat Cameroon 1-0 and Croatia 3-1. They only gave up one goal in three games, this, from a team thOchoa savesat needed help to qualify. Giovani dos Santos scored to give Mexico the lead early in the second half, then they held on until the 88th minute, when Wesley Sneijder scored the tying goal. A penalty was awarded to Arjen Robben in stoppage time and Klaas Jan Huntelaar put it away to break Mexican hearts. It’s hardly a consolation to say they had a great tournament. It’s too bad they are not far enough along in the tournament to get a consolation game because Miguel Herrara, Guillermo Ochoa and company provided many minutes of dramatic, entertaining football.

To give the Netherlands their due…I think they should have led in the first half when Arjen Robben was fouled in the box. He was clipped on the back of the leg by Rafa Marquez, then tripped up by Hector Moreno but didn’t get the call. Lots of controversy in this game due to Arjen Robben’s dramatic falls, however, that penalty, if awarded, could have changed the complexion of the game.

Bottom line, game over, Netherlands move on to the quarters and we have to say ‘adios’ to a Mexican side that gave us lots of thrills.

 

Bryan Ruiz scores  The second game which was equally, if not more heart stopping, was the Costa Rica vs Greece game. Bryan Ruiz scored for Costa Rica in the 52nd minute, with what looked to be a savable ball. However, it appeard the goalie’s view was momentarily blocked.Costa Rica up 1-0.

Most of the time, both teams were fairly evenly matched until Oscar Duarte was sent off for a silly challenge when he earned his second yellow card of the match, in the 66th minute. Now Costa Rica had to defend. Their goalkeeper, Kaylor Navas, made a few critical stops in the 6 yard box to keep Costa Rica in the lead until stoppage time, when Sokratis Papastathopoulos sent a second ball into the Costa Rican net. High drama as Ian Darke would say.

Two extra time halves of scoreless football brought them to the dreaded penalty kick phase. Unlike the Brazil/Chile game, both teams took their penalty kicks really well. It came down to the fourth takers for each team. Costa Rica sent up Joel Campbell who was gasping at the end of play from having been Costa Rica’s loan stricker for so long. Collective breaths were held, but he made it. Greece sent up a Theofanis Gekas whose kick was saved by Navas. That left Michael Umana to make it and send Costa Rica into the next round, or not, and give Greece continued life. As they had up to that point,  Umana made another excellent penalty kick and the rest is history. Literally. This is the first time in Costa Rica’s history, they will play in the quarterfinal round of the World Cup. Congratulations to Costa Rica for a gritty win and great representation of CONCACAF.Costa Rica v Greece: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

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