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World Cup

  • July 5, 2014
  • • 21:00
  • • Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Bahia
  • Referee: R. Irmatov
  • • Attendance: 51179
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Netherlands won 4 - 3 on penalties

Netherlands - Costa Rica Preview: Navas a doubt as Van Gaal seeks De Jong solution

Netherlands - Costa Rica Preview: Navas a doubt as Van Gaal seeks De Jong solution

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Oranje have a selection dilemma as they consider a replacement for the injured midfielder while the Central Americans have slight concerns over their star keeper and Rory Miller

Netherlands are reeling from the loss of Nigel de Jong while Costa Rica are sweating on the fitness of Keylor Navas and Roy Miller ahead of Saturday's World Cup quarter-final clash in Salvador.

De Jong was forced off just nine minutes into his country's 2-1 last-16 win over Mexico and subsequent scans revealed a groin muscle tear, ruling him out of the remainder of the tournament.

Consequently, Louis van Gaal has a tactical dilemma. He could switch to 4-3-3 or continue with the double pivot in front of the five-man defence with which he has started every game, replacing De Jong with Jonathan de Guzman, Jordy Clasie or versatile defender Daley Blind, who moved into midfield against Mexico.

If the latter option is taken, Bruno Martins Indi would be the obvious man to step in on the left-hand side of the defence, as he did in Fortaleza. Regardless, Daryl Janmaat is expected to return on the opposite flank in place of Paul Verhaegh, who did not impress against Mexico.

As for Costa Rica, goalkeeper Navas, who has been one of the stars of the tournament, missed training on Wednesday because of a minor shoulder problem, but is expected to start.

Meanwhile, versatile defender Miller is doubtful because of a muscle tear in his left foot, which is a major concern given centre-half Oscar Duarte is suspended for the last-eight meeting with the Dutch.

Elsewhere, coach Jorge Luis Pinto is not expected to make any changes to the side that has served him so well in Brazil, meaning lone striker Joel Campbell will once again be supported by Bryan Ruiz and Christian Bolanos from out wide.

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Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Players to Watch
Arjen Robben
Arjen Robben
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Arjen Robben is always a player worth watching because of his ability to turn any game with his blistering pace and fancy footwork. However, all eyes will be on the winger this weekend because of his propensity for procuring penalties. The way in which Robben earned a decisive spot-kick in the last 16 against Mexico provoked widespread debate and, though he subsequently denied diving, his admission that he had taken a tumble of his own accord earlier in the game only added fuel to the fire. It will be interesting to see how easily he goes to ground in Salvador.
K. Navas
K. Navas
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
5 0 1 0
Navas pulled off a succession of sensational stops against Greece, the most incredible and crucial of which arrived right at the end of extra-time when he somehow denied Kostas Mitroglou at close range. Navas then saved Theofanis Gekas' penalty in the shootout, prompting Celso Borges to exclaim: "I think he must have been born or Mars or Venus or some other planet!" Costa Rica deservedly defeated both Italy and Uruguay in the group stages but they're likely to need another other-worldly display from their in-demand goalkeeper if they are to overcome a Dutch side brimming with attacking talent - provided, of course, that he is fully fit.
Prediction
Costa Rica have arguably been the story of the World Cup and fully merit their place in the last eight. They have been humble yet fearless. Consequently, they will not be in the least bit perturbed by the prospect of facing a Dutch side that has won every game they have played so far. However, while los Ticos do not lack quality in attack, one suspects that they will not quite have the firepower to survive a shootout with a Dutch side with two weapons of mass destruction in the shape of Robben and Van Persie.
Editor's Prediction

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