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Netherlands vs Costa Rica - World Cup preview and team news

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By Stephen Donovan

Saturday 05 July 2014

Louis van Gaal and the Netherlands return to the setting of their amazing opening win over defending champions Spain as they play surprise package Costa Rica for a place in the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Louis van Gaal

There was plenty to be admired about the Netherlands as they came back to defeat Mexico in the last round in the stifling heat of Fortaleza. However, the main talking point afterwards was whether Arjen Robben dived to win the decisive penalty, and his admission that he had done so at another point in the match.

In truth, the Bayern Munich man has driven the Dutch forward in this World Cup, and he must continue in the same vain if his side are to have any chance of winning the competition for the first time. Mexico perhaps missed a trick in sitting back once they had the lead, however, so if Costa Rica are brave enough to test the defence, they could gain positive results.

The Central Americans have certainly played with very little fear thus far, upsetting all the pre-tournament odds to finish top of a group containing three former world champions. Then, faced with a difficult situation against Greece, they failed to succumb and eventually won the penalty shootout to reach the last eight for the first time.

Manager Jorge Luis Pinto has done a magnificent job to guide his team to this stage, and to go one better it would take yet more immaculate preparations, but having beaten Uruguay and Italy, they must feel they can stun the Netherlands, particularly with goalkeeper Keylor Navas and striker Joel Campbell is such fine form.

The Netherlands have a slight doubt of Wesley Sneijder, who has a back problem, while Nigel de Jong will miss the rest of the World Cup with a groin injury.

Costa Rica are unable to call upon Oscar Duarte after his sending off against Greece. Roy Miller is also out with a foot problem.

View the latest World Cup 2014 odds and betting here

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