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Netherlands nips historic Costa Rica run in penalty kicks



The inspired goalkeeping of Costa Rican goalie Keylor Navas kept the Netherlands scoreless through 120 minutes, but the 27-year-old Levante keeper couldn’t keep one of the World Cup’s most potent offenses silent in penalty kicks, as Los Ticos fell 0-0 (4-3) at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

The Dutch got penalty kick goals from Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder before Dirk Kuyt buried the clincher into the bottom right corner to send the Netherlands to a second straight World Cup semifinal.

Dutch goalie Jasper Cillessen was tested with just one shot on target during the run of play, but despite the shutout bid, manager Louis van Gaal replaced him with Tim Krul for the decisive penalty kicks, saving attempts by Bryan Ruiz and then Marcos Ureña to clinch the victory.

Krul dove in the right direction, saving Ureña’s penalty at the right post to seal the result.

Celso Borges, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Christian Bolaños had converted pentalie kicks for Los Ticos, but it wasn’t enough to send the tournament Cinderella into the semifinals.

The Netherlands moves on to play in a semifinal against Lionel Messi’s Argentina at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The Dutch move one step closer to avenging last cycle’s finish, a 1-0 loss to Spain in overtime in the World Cup final. The Netherlands has never won the World

Costa Rica concluded it’s best ever tournament run. Los Ticos have made four World Cups total, but this was their first ever appearance in the quarterfinals.

The Costa Ricans were also the last team remaining from the CONCACAF region as both the United States and Mexico fell in the Round of 16 and Honduras bowed out in the Group Stage.

The Dutch managed 20 shots overall, getting four each from Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder, including four of the Netherlands’ eight shots on target from Van Persie.

Costa Rica was only able to muster one attempt on frame, coming from Ureña in the 117th minute.

Navas (7 saves) was challenged early, saving shots on target by Van Persie and Sneijder in the 21st and 22nd minutes. The Costa Rican keeper was also called to action in the 39th minute, diving to deny a Sneijder free kick try aimed at the upper left part of goal.

Sneijder served it into Van Persie in the 88th minute for what could have been the winner, but the Manchester United target man couldn’t get on the other end to send it home.

The Costa Ricans averted disaster in the third minute of second half stoppage time as Van Persie delivered a low shot and Yeltsin Tejeda deflected the shot up off the crossbar and away.

The next Dutch chance came in the 119th minute when Sneijder delivered it off the crossbar in the 119th minute, with the near-miss all but sealing that the game would go to PKs.


  1. Why isn’t anyone talking about the two no penalty goald againsy Costa Rica? Or how Indi got away with hitting Costa Rican players all day.

  2. Great run by the Ticos. Sorry they are out especially at the hands and feet of the Dutch. the next few years are going to be fun to watch in CONCACAF friendlies. Watched the game from a MLB game where the TVs in the runway areas were on the game. There was a very pro Costa Rican crowd (some Dutch fans too) watching even though the baseball game was a 1-0 pitchers’ duel. Amazing to see that the interest in the game did not disappear with the USA exit.

  3. Tremendous run by Los Ticos, but can you imagine the howls of derision if the US had actually made it to the quarters and adopted the same strategy against Argentina? Bunker ball! Small football nation! No talent! Costa Rica’s perfectly engineered defensive stance was a thing of beauty, but in fairness to JK, it made the US’s strategy against Belgium – which conceded just as many chances, but out of risk-taking rather than ceding possession – look like that of an attacking wild man.

      • I am completely baffled by this. Reading this statement just made me dumber. You really have no idea what you are talking about and what you said makes no sense in the idea of strategy.

      • Everything because you have some sort of warped view of the way the sport is played. Sad that you are a coach.

    • I believe CRC did concede the ball too much. They did show some moments of genius, building up from the defense up, or snatching it away at mid, but they were not able to connect good passes in the last quarter. Plus, like someone mentioned before, I would have enjoyed a couple of shots from outside the box to test Cillessen. The few times they did make it into the box, the Dutch backline did not seem solid. The play they had towards the end of the 2nd OT is the perfect example. But then again, no team will make you pay more against an attacking approach than the Dutch.

  4. Shame they finally had to bow out. I hope they will build on this experience. Hopefully CONCACAF earned some more respect this tourney. If Panama can stay strong and Honduras never plays Thuggie Palacio again, we’ll have at least four or five teams making some noise at the Centenario.
    As for anti-football… It took me awhile but I have come to appreciate the fact that part of a good defense is taking away any potential advantage your opponent may have. That can be incredibly difficult to do, especially against such an incredibly talented squad as the Dutch.

  5. Great for the Ticos — I am sure they will be rightfully greated as heroes upon their return.

    Gave them all they could handle in the end, as did Mexico. If I hear a single Dutch fool belittle CONCACAF, I will be sure to remind them of the lengths they had to go to in order to squeeze past the 2nd and 4th placed finishers in the region.

    While this Oranje team coasted past the reigning world champiions 5-1, with style, they got dragged into the trenches when they came up against teams from this side of the snob tracks. Took every unicycle crash embellishment in Robben’s shameful bag just to squeak through this far. In the end, Tim Krul (the only guy in Dutch soccer presently employed in the third world, at Newcastle) had to come in and talk high-school style smack in order to gain his balding and grey-haired teammates passage.

    Fee goes up next time, fellas. At least you didn’t wake the master of the house.

    • What is interesting about this Cup is that none of the final 4 teams have had an easy run to the semis. Germany certainly hasn’t dominated, Argentina has been tested, and we know about Brazil, so…winning the trophy is sometimes about winning ugly. Maybe the Dutch are catching on?

      • No doubt. Whle it was sad to see Neymar exit the competition, I think many people are forgetting that we have actually been very fortunate as viewers of this tournament — very few players have been lost to the competition via suspension or injury

        It’s now time for the teams reamining to think about how they are going to close, not how they are going to entertain or impress the neutrals. Cards have been wiped clean. All teams have the available personnel to win (yes even Brazil). I’m thinking the coaches of the remaining teams (all of them are sharp guys) will be telling their teams that this could be a dogfight as easily as a festival of football from here out.

      • Going through the group stages, I thought Netherlands looked like they’d run away with this thing. Then they ran smack into CONCACAF competition and looked lucky to survive—both times.

        Brazil looked shaky from the start. Unimpressive group stage matches and hard-fought knockouts—always with a healthy dose of refereeing controversy. All the pieces were there, but they’re still just pieces…and now a few less pieces.

        Argentina at first glance seems the weakest of the Big Four, winning by only a single goal in every match—but that’s the thing: they won every match. None of this “taking it to penalties” nonsense. They have done what needed to be done—no more, no less. For that perfect efficiency alone I’d say this is their Cup, but losing Di Maria will allow opponents to neutralize Messi.

        Germany showed utter dominance in its opener, then struggled against an insanely athletic and motivated Ghana—nothing to be worried about there, especially considering that they kept everything under control against the USA. Their struggle against Algeria revealed some weakness in their formation more than their roster and that was corrected in order to shut down red-hot France.

        Well, that’s my take going into the Semis: Germany > Argentina > Brazil > Netherlands

  6. Congrats to our regional rival on a great run. They may hate us and call us USA no fair play but their run was nothing short of Inspiring.

  7. Costa Rica played beautiful soccer. They defended brilliantly and carried the ball well in transition. I think what failed them was hesitating to pull the trigger on shots—or trying to get a too-perfect shot.

    I’ll be giving them a standing ovation the next time they face the USA (which will end as soon as the opening kick, of course!).

  8. Unbelievable Cup from Costa Rica.

    They way they performed as a unit, holding the high line, Navas in goal, selecting their attacks, Ruiz’s composure, Bolaños’ dribbling, Tejeda’s tireless work… extraordinary. There was a 4-6 minute sequence in the second half where they repelled Holland – a thing of pure futboling beauty – and I’m usually not one to focus on the beauty of defensive play.

    Kudos to those guys and their trainer. Heads held high, I imagine. The U.S. could learn a thing or two from them.

      • Yea, too bad there’s not 5″/hr snowfall in Brazil, I hear the US is really good in the white stuff

      • Yes we play in the stuff almost constantly, as everyone knows. A massive and pre-determined advantage that we connivingly managed to sneak past officials who had no basic awareness of our domestic football culture– snow does not affect us. Suckers…

        It’s alright, Costa Rica went on to get their revenge in the Gold Cup, and eventually win the hex, if I’m not mistaken. Right?

        Kidding apart, much respect for the Ticos run. Competition in the region will be high. Very good thing.

        Also, don’t look now, but the way things are shaping up, Copa America 2016 is going to be better viewing than Euro 2016. Maybe even more lucrative. Big, big event we are looking at. Excellent.

      • Whole ‘nother world down there, holmes; different day, different game… The Costa Ricans were set up to make it as far as possible with the unit they took… The U.S. on the other hand was not. A certain, very experienced player said it recently better than anyone else could have…

      • You’re mom has sand in her vagina? Oh wait, that’s right, I was with her at the beach yesterday.

      • I wouldn’t call it that since the US actually showed up to play. Costa rica just sat in their own half.

      • oh please

        explain to us all how Costa Rica defends professor. You want to label them anit futbol? I sure hope you actually get how their defense works? not like any other team in the World Cup, very unique…but of course you get that since you’re here proclaiming it’s anti futbol…lmao. could use your insights over there where the know-it-all mouths pretend together

      • I believe you’re talking about yourself moron. I listened to your crap yesterday and didn’t say a word. You are as dumb as your handle. Do you know what anti-football is? Oh wait you don’t because you don’t understand the game.

      • moron? dumb? haha! so tough but still so unaware of what happened.

        go to where the morons and dummies post to each other. you actually need to know something to survive here

    • like what? Costa Rica sat back and played the counter against Holland just like the US did against Belgium. They were just a bit luckier to make it to PK’s.

      • Luckier? Really? The Costa Ricans were virtually masterful. I’ve played at the highest level you can in this country and I promise you, what they accomplished was extraordinary.

      • In that game? sneijder hit two posts and RVP missed a sitter. That was fortunate. CR was dominated just like the US were, except, the US should have won on Wondo’s shank at the end of regulation.

        Sure CR played some fantastic soccer during the tournament and deserves all the praise, but, as you know, having played for the USMNT, there is no shame in what the US accomplished as well.

      • Somewhat agreed. No shame for the U.S. players. I’m never necessarily critical of those guys: they get chosen and play their hearts out; I can’t recall ever thinking any player in a USA kit looked lazy or uncommitted… but on the other hand, I’m pretty critical of the the guys at the top of the food chain… Klinsmann, Gulati…

      • No won. You obviously you don’t watch these things do you? Do you just like to comment and pretend you’re smart?

      • talking to yourself CO?

        I’ll give you a chance. Explain to us all how Costa Rica defends and why it was so effective. Bonus question: if it’s so good, why were they the only team to play that way?

        I await your reply

      • It’s called parking the bus which you couldn’t distinguish between yesterday. You prove how dumb you are with everything you say on here. Yesterday was definitely dunce worthy.

      • Wasn’t the U.S. down 2-1 when Wondo blew his wad? If he had scored, wouldn’t that have made it 2-2?

      • And they parked the bus this game more than the others. You don’t watch much of the game if you can’t distinguish different styles.

      • two usernames? hahaha…only sadfu(ks do that. when you know what you’re talking about it’s much more fun to just use your one name. that’s what I do

      • btw, I took 2 weeks of vacation so I could watch every game live!
        I watch WAY too much, and coach way to much…a futbol nut, that’s my life for these many many decades

      • Hey CO, I say this with all due respect, because I want to help you: you’ve got some serious reading and game studying/watching to down on your own.

        Costa Rica did not park the bus this tournament. In short, they held a very high-line and did a masterful job of compressing the play field.

        For counter-point of reference, the U.S. tried to do this, but so frequently struggled, and it could be said reasonably, I think, ultimately failed at it.

        And this has nothing to do with the players. It has to do with management, training and time; they clearly just didn’t have enough of it.

      • This is about as dumb as your comment about relegation.

        I didn’t say they did this all tournament. I am talking about this one game in particular. One game. Please watch the games before commenting. I keep reading your comment on here and you seriously only know what you have ‘read’ and probably heard from people who know nothing about the game. Every comment you add on this site makes you look dumber and dumber.

      • So… you’re saying C.R. parked the bus as opposed to compressed the playing field with a master-ful employment of the high line?

      • Nope. The miss was in the 93rd minute. It was tied 0-0. Belgium didn’t score until extra time. If Wondolowski had scored we would have won.

      • really? Costa Rica frustrated every opponent they played with their D. I did not see the USMNT do that to any team

      • CRC did play too defensively the last game vs Holland. But that goes to playing one of the top 4 teams in the world. But then again, they did catch the Dutch 11 times offside; they totaled 41 in 5 games. Right there you have material every student of the game should watch and drill.

  9. Netherlands deserved the win but if you going to get knocked out of the world cup….thats how you leave. With your head held high, leaving everything out there on the field, with the reputation of a giant killer. Awesome job Costa Rica.


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