Netherlands vs. Costa Rica – World Cup Match Preview and Prediction – 1PM EST, Saturday July 5, 2014 Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil
By Jason Green, World Cup Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: Netherlands 1.50 / Costa Rica 8.00 / Draw 4.33
Moneyline: Netherlands -200 / Costa Rica +700 / Draw +333
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Costa Rica has been the darling of the World Cup so far and can they win a 5th straight tournament match where they are the betting underdog? Los Ticos have won the Group of Champions and then beat Greece in the round of 16 playing with 10 men for most of the match.
The offense of the Dutch has been en fuego with 12 goals in 4 matches, but they did have to come from behind to score 2 goals after the 80th minute to beat Mexico in the round of 16.
Costa Rica hangs their hat on their defense, which has been great in the World Cup only conceding 2 goals in 4 matches. That is the big match up in their encounter in the defense of Costa Rica facing the offense of the Dutch. Obviously, Netherlands has the advantage, as the 2010 World Cup finalist are HUGER betting favorites.
Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie each have 3 goals for the Netherlands and they are obviously the main 2 players the Costa Rica has to key on. However, the Dutch also have an attacking midfield led by Wesley Sneijder, who scored in the Mexico match. This leaves the squad vulnerable on the counter attack, which Costa Rica must capitalize on.
With the superior talent the Netherlands have in the midfield Los Ticos cannot allow them to dominate the possession. The more that the Dutch hold the ball the more scoring chances they will get with their midfield pushing forward.
One of the better defensive midfielders for the Dutch Nigel de Jong is out for this match due to an injury.
While Costa Rica’s defense has been great they have only scored five goals in four matches. Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz have 3 of Los Ticos’ goals and if the Netherlands and their suspect defense can keep these guys in check they should win the match.
Robin van Persie has a knack for not being able to score in knockout stages of tournaments and he did nothing to get that monkey off his back since he did not score against Mexico. He faces a stout Costa Rica defense and if he is out of form and struggles there is a lot of pressure on Robben.
Costa Rica DF Oscar Duarte is out for this match after picking up 2 yellow cards in the match facing Greece.
The Dutch play with a lot of pace and Costa Rica needs to slow down the match. While their defense has been great they cannot get caught off guard in the back line. They will play a defensive match and look for the counter, but they still have to disrupt the passing lanes.
If the Dutch can limit their mistakes, especially on defense, and play to their strengths they will win. On the other side of the coin Costa Rica will really need to take advantage of any mistakes Netherlands makes.
Costa Rica Recent Form
6/6/2014 Costa Rica 1 Republic of Ireland (Friendly)
6/14/2014 Uruguay 1 Costa Rica 3 (World Cup)
6/20/2014 Italy 0 Costa Rica 1 (World Cup)
6/24/2014 Costa Rica 0 England 0 (World Cup)
6/29/2014 Costa Rica 1 Greece 1 (World Cup)
Netherlands Recent Form
6/4/2014 Netherlands 2 Wales 0 (Friendly)
6/13/2014 Spain 1 Netherlands 5 (World Cup)
6/18/2014 Australia 2 Netherlands 3 (World Cup)
6/23/2014 Netherlands 2 Chile 0 (World Cup)
6/29/2014 Netherlands 2 Mexico 1 (World Cup)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: Costa Rica will continue their solid play on defense, but it will not be enough. The Netherlands’ offense simply has too many weapons and their attack will get more than 1 goal. Costa Rica will score as well, but they will come up just short and the Dutch will win 2-1 to advance to the World Cup semifinals for the 2nd straight tournament.