Holland will meet Costa Rica in the World Cup quarterfinals in Brazil after both sides won their group-of-16 games on June 29. The Dutch scored twice after the 88th minute to edge Mexico 2-1 while Costa Rica beat Greece in a penalty shootout after their 1-1 90-minute draw. Holland took on Mexico at the Estadio Castelao in front 58,817 fans in Fortaleza on a hot and humid day.

Mexico was the better team in the first half, but couldn’t manage to put the ball past Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen. Holland created a couple of chances through winger Arjen Robben, but the teams went to their dressing rooms with the score 0-0 at halftime. Mexico took the lead just three minutes into the second half when Giovani Dos Santos struck a sweet shot from the edge of the box that beat Cillessen in the 48th minute.

The Mexicans continued to play well and seemed to be in control of the match until manager Miguel Herrera made a huge mistake by taking Dos Santos off after 61 minutes and replacing him with midfielder Javier Aquino. Once the substitution was made the Dutch picked up the pace and put the pressure on Mexico. They created several chances and if it wasn’t for goaltender Guillermo Ochoa could have easily took the lead.

However, Holland was still behind in the 88th minute until midfielder Wesley Sneijder hammered a long-range low shot past Ochoa. The Dutch kept attacking and were awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time when Rafael Marquez was ruled to have taken Robben down in the box. Klaas Jan-Huntelaar stepped up to the spot and converted the kick and that was all she wrote as Holland came away with a 2-1 win.

The second match of the day took place at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife with 41,242 fans in the stands.  The uneventful first half ended goalless, but Costa Rica took the lead just seven minutes into the second half when Bryan Ruiz’s low shot found the bottom corner of the net. Costa Rica went down to 10 men in the 66th minute when Oscar Duarte was handed his second yellow card of the game.

Greece then started to push men into the box and finally equalized during the first minute of stoppage time when keeper Navas punched the ball back into open play after making a fine save. Sokratis Papastathopoulos pounced on the rebound and forced the game onto extra time. The score remained 1-1 after 120 minutes and the match then headed to a penalty shootout. Navas managed to make a save on Greece’s third kick and Costa Rica buried all of their shots for close and hard-fought win. They have now reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever and will take on Holland next week.

photo-espn.com