Last minute twists (World Cup Knockouts Day 2)

Both Netherlands & Greece happen to turn the fate of the game after the normal game time is over. Former could turn it to their advantage and later went more with the drama but faltered.

Netherlands vs Mexico

At the outset, Mexico played to win and they should have won. They were the best team with their impenetrable defence, a goalkeeper like a rock & swift counter-attacking mid-field.

Holland, on the other hand, never really felt easy may be because of heat or stunned by the Mexican stubbornness. They hardly made any standard shots on goal. Kuyt had some kind of secret energy inside him to run the whole length of the field although being on the sunny side of the field (while everyone else could hardly maintain their posture like Van Persie) & Robben also tried hard to use his urgent sprints to break through the Mexican defence. All of those attempts were getting blocked and overturned via quick Mexican counter-attacks. One of those attempts resulted in the ball coming to the left leg of Dos Santos, who produced another stunning goal of this World Cup (which is already full of such left-leg stunners).

Moreover, Mexicans had the final wall in the form of Ochero, their goalkeeper. His reflexes need to be studied.

However, one small mistake by the Mexican defence in the first minute of an 6 minute injury time, resulted in a rocket from Sneider that caught Ochero completely unmoved. Holland levelled & things looked dark.

Then came Robben’s diving penalty. Which is going to be seen & discussed again & again for agony & remorse. It was the last nail in the coffin for Mexicans.

They deserved the win, snatched away by a minor slip of attention & tactics of Van Haal during surprising cooling breaks 1

Costa Rica vs Greece

I went to sleep at around 80 minutes in the game thinking that it’s decided. I was so wrong. And that’s the beauty of this game.

Costa Rica played well, not good i.e. below my expectation, and Greece played bad. Goal by Suiz was sweet however their gameplay, especially in mid-field, raised some glaring questions on their effectiveness going forward.

Greece were never in the game, they were haywire & confused. Costa Rica should have capitalised their incompetence much more lethally but they were also playing a bit more conservatively.

Nevertheless, I liked their game more than the earlier one between Holland & Mexico. These lower ranked teams play like they have nothing to loose and produce a much richer experience in the process.

Post 80 minutes, as I heard and seeing the highlights, Greece found some enlightenment. They attacked hard and their shots were more on target than flying wayward. One of those went inside. And hence resulted the draw which continued past the extra time.

Greece faltered in the penalties that too in the last one via a superb stop by Naas. He became the hero of the match and rightfully deserved that.

And in quarters

I don’t see any reason why Holland won’t come strong post their lacklustre performance. And if they did, Costa Rica need to work really hard to strengthen their defence. They need to play more like Mexico 2

  1. I don’t like these cooling breaks which are these American concepts to show ads. For me, it hampers the spirit & fundamentals of game. I understand the health concerns but that can be dealt differently and not halting the game for managers & coaches to strategise. And may be later for ad companies to get some screen time. ↩︎

  2. they already have a goalkeeper to match Ochero ↩︎