The second day of Round of 16 action at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ served up another feast for spectators around the globe. After hosts Brazil squeezed into the quarter-finals following a penalty shoot-out in the opening match of the knockout stages, the games on day two were equally dramatic and likewise only decided late on.
The Netherlands v Mexico opener was extended due to the introduction of unprecedented cooling breaks, and only went the way of the Dutch in added time, while the second fixture of the day was equally tense, even if goalscoring chances were harder to come by in a meeting that needed penalties to provide a winner. For the first time in World Cup history, two Round of 16 matches have been decided by spot-kicks, and this time it was Costa Rica who finally gained the upper hand over Greece. In doing so, not only did the Central Americans send another European team out of the competition, they also reached the last eight for the first time ever. FIFA.com rounds up the best of the day’s events.
Netherlands 2-1 Mexico (Budweiser Man of the Match: Guillermo Ochoa, MEX)
Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (5-3 on penalties) (Budweiser Man of the Match: Keylor Navas, CRC)
With the thermometer at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza showing 32 degrees Celsius and humidity levels at 68 per cent, history was made during the match between the Netherlands and Mexico as referee Pedro Proenca called a time out for a cooling break in the 32nd minute. In none of the 20 previous finals had such a stoppage ever taken place. The players gratefully received drinks, ice and damp cloths to cool themselves down and it had a revitalising effect, as immediately afterwards Mexico increased the pressure and carved out some promising openings. The players were not the only ones taking precautions with the heat though, as messages on the big screens reminded fans to reapply sun cream throughout the proceedings. Proenca also stopped the game in the second half for a few minutes in order to give the protagonists another breather.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar may not have been on the pitch during the designated breaks but he made sure he was refreshed when taking to the field as a second-half substitute by dashing to the toilet shortly before being brought on. His introduction in place of Robin van Persie in the 76th minute was pivotal as he proceeded to nod the ball down to Wesley Sneijder for the equaliser. Despite it being Huntelaar’s first outing at Brazil 2014, the Dutchman then showed no sign of nerves when he lashed in the match-winning penalty in the fourth minute of additional time - even though he was not the designated taker. “[Arjen] Robben was supposed to take it,” Huntelaar said afterwards. “But he asked me if I wanted to shoot and I said yes because I felt confident. And I scored.”
European bogey team
After sending both England and Italy home in the group stage, Costa Rica put their next European victims to the sword by defeating Greece. A cooling off period like in the day’s first game may have done Jorge Luis Pinto’s side good though, as they picked up five yellow cards, despite only collecting a total of two cautions in their first three matches. To make matters worse, Oscar Duarte became the first player in the country’s history to be sent off at a World Cup. Pinto will be relieved that neither of the two players on yellow cards going into the game were booked again, meaning they are available for the quarter-final where they will face their next European opponent: the Netherlands. Los Ticos showed remarkable composure during their penalty shoot-out, with all five takers leaving the goalkeeper little chance and finding the target with well-taken efforts.
145 - The number of goals scored at Brazil 2014 in the 52 games so far, equalling the total tournament tally at South Africa 2010. The current goalscoring record at a finals with 32 participating teams stands at 171 and was set at France 1998, which was the first tournament to host that many countries. That figure is in sight this year given the current average of 2.8 goals per game. Incidentally, the 25 goals scored by substitutes in Brazil is already a new record, surpassing the 23 netted at Germany 2006.
France - Nigeria, 30 June 2014, 13:00, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia
Germany - Algeria, 30 June 2014, 17:00, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre
(All times given are local)
Have your say
Can Los Ticos continue their form into the quarter-finals against the Netherlands and eliminate another European team?