Manchester United’s new manager Louis van Gaal took advantage of a cooling break with 15 minutes remaining to make the tactical changes that helped the Netherlands come from behind to score two late goals and reach the FIFA World Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
In sweltering temperatures in Fortaleza Van Gaal, SBOBET, who will leave his position as head coach of the Dutch national side to take over at United next month, found his team trailing to a 48th-minute goal by former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Giovani Dos Santos. But the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach took advantage of an official break in play for the players to take on water to change his side’s formation, altering from a three-man to a four-man defence and pushing Arjen Robben to the right.
Although the Oranje left it late to produce an equaliser, the changes gave them more space to attack down the flanks with Robben proving more effective on the right, creating a headed chance for Wesley Sneijder, forcing a fine save from Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and drawing fouls from Mexican defenders.
The 2010 finalists were back in the match on 88 minutes when the unmarked Sneijder pounced on a half-clearance from a corner and then, in the fourth minute of added time, Robben was fouled in the penalty area and Klaas Jan Huntelaar sent his side through from the spot.
“I have to give credit to my players,” Van Gaal said. “They were in much better shape and much more focused than our opponents. SBOBET, We took advantage of the water break to tweak our system and created loads of chances, some of them denied by the woodwork and others by a ‘keeper who has been fantastic.”
BPL players to feature
Netherlands: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Robin van Persie (Man Utd; sub: 76min). Subs not used: Michel Vorm (Swansea), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea).
Mexico: Sub: Javier Hernandez (Man Utd, 75).
Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (AET, Costa Rica win 5-3 on penalties)
Former Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz and Arsenal striker Joel Campbell were among the successful penalty takers as 10-man Costa Rica edged past Greece in a shootout in Recife.
Los Ticos appeared to have held out for victory in normal time despite the dismissal of Oscar Duarte for a second bookable offence on 66 minutes, as they clung on to Ruiz’s early second-half opener with the help of a string of saves from man-of-the-match Keylor Navas.
But in stoppage time Sokratis Papastathopoulos pounced on a rebound from another Navas save to take the match into extra-time. The Costa Rica goalkeeper continued to hold firm in the additional half-hour despite sustaining a shoulder injury while pulling off a spectacular fingertip save to deny Fulham’s Kostas Mitroglou in the final moments of normal time.
Then, after Celso Borges, Ruiz, SBOBET, Giancarlo Gonzalez and Campbell had held their nerve from the spot, Navas denied Theofanis Gekas’s effort, and Michael Umana scored a fifth decisive spot-kick to earn his side a quarter-final tie with the Netherlands on Saturday.