A cool first and a historic triumph

The second day of Round of 16 action at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ served up another feast for spectators around the globe. After hosts Brazil squeezed into the quarter-finals following a penalty shoot-out in the opening match of the knockout stages, the games on day two were equally dramatic and likewise only decided late on. 

The Netherlands v Mexico opener was extended due to the introduction of unprecedented cooling breaks, and only went the way of the Dutch in added time, while the second fixture of the day was equally tense, even if goalscoring chances were harder to come by in a meeting that needed penalties to provide a winner. For the first time in World Cup history, two Round of 16 matches have been decided by spot-kicks, and this time it was Costa Rica who finally gained the upper hand over Greece. In doing so, not only did the Central Americans send another European team out of the competition, they also reached the last eight for the first time ever. FIFA.com rounds up the best of the day’s events.

ResultsNetherlands 2-1 Mexico (Budweiser Man of the Match: Guillermo Ochoa, MEX)
Costa Rica 1-1 Greece (5-3 on penalties) (Budweiser Man of the Match: Keylor Navas, CRC)

Memorable moments Historic breakWith the thermometer at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza showing 32 degrees Celsius and humidity levels at 68 per cent, history was made during the match between the Netherlands and Mexico as referee Pedro Proenca called a time out for a cooling break in the 32nd minute. In none of the 20 previous finals had such a stoppage ever taken place. The players gratefully received drinks, ice and damp cloths to cool themselves down and it had a revitalising effect, as immediately afterwards Mexico increased the pressure and carved out some promising openings. The players were not the only ones taking precautions with the heat though, as messages on the big screens reminded fans to reapply sun cream throughout the proceedings. Proenca also stopped the game in the second half for a few minutes in order to give the protagonists another breather.Game-changing SupersubKlaas-Jan Huntelaar may not have been on the pitch during the designated breaks but he made sure he was refreshed when taking to the field as a second-half substitute by dashing to the toilet shortly before being brought on. His introduction in place of Robin van Persie in the 76th minute was pivotal as he proceeded to nod the ball down to Wesley Sneijder for the equaliser. Despite it being Huntelaar’s first outing at Brazil 2014, the Dutchman then showed no sign of nerves when he lashed in the match-winning penalty in the fourth minute of additional time – even though he was not the designated taker. “[Arjen] Robben was supposed to take it,” Huntelaar said afterwards. “But he asked me if I wanted to shoot and I said yes because I felt confident. And I scored.”European bogey teamAfter sending both England and Italy home in the group stage, Costa Rica put their next European victims to the sword by defeating Greece. A cooling off period like in the day’s first game may have done Jorge Luis Pinto’s side good though, as they picked up five yellow cards, despite only collecting a total of two cautions in their first three matches. To make matters worse, Oscar Duarte became the first player in the country’s history to be sent off at a World Cup. Pinto will be relieved that neither of the two players on yellow cards going into the game were booked again, meaning they are available for the quarter-final where they will face their next European opponent: the Netherlands. Los Ticos showed remarkable composure during their penalty shoot-out, with all five takers leaving the goalkeeper little chance and finding the target with well-taken efforts.The stat
145 – The number of goals scored at Brazil 2014 in the 52 games so far, equalling the total tournament tally at South Africa 2010. The current goalscoring record at a finals with 32 participating teams stands at 171 and was set at France 1998, which was the first tournament to host that many countries. That figure is in sight this year given the current average of 2.8 goals per game. Incidentally, the 25 goals scored by substitutes in Brazil is already a new record, surpassing the 23 netted at Germany 2006.

Next upFrance – Nigeria, 30 June 2014, 13:00, Estadio Nacional, Brasilia
Germany – Algeria, 30 June 2014, 17:00, Estadio Beira-Rio, Porto Alegre (All times given are local)

Have your sayCan Los Ticos continue their form into the quarter-finals against the Netherlands and eliminate another European team?

Depay seizes the day

The second day of last-16 ties at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ proved a productive one for the Netherlands’ Memphis Depay, as he advanced his claims to the Hyundai Young Player Award.

Sunday’s two matches featured only three candidates for the Hyundai Young Player Award, with the Netherlands’ Terence Kongolo and Memphis Depay starting their tie with Mexico on the bench and looking on helplessly as El Tri took the lead in Fortaleza. With time against the Dutch, Louis Van Gaal sent Depay on in a bid to exert more pressure on the Mexican back-line.

Operating on the left flank, the young PSV Eindhoven forward proved a threat with his mobility and pace, as the Dutch squeezed their opponents back before hitting them with two late goals to edge into the last eight. Having risen to the occasion with a convincing display, Depay was entitled to feel pleased with his part in the Oranje’s last-gasp comeback.

Greece goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino was the third contender potentially in action on Sunday, but watched from the bench as his side went down on penalties to tournament revelations Costa Rica.  

Coming up
Monday’s two high-profile ties feature a clutch of young players in the running for the award, starting with Nigeria defender Kenneth Omeruo, who has a tough assignment ahead of him in trying to stifle France’s free-scoring front line. Lining up for Les Bleus, meanwhile, will be Raphael Varane, who has had a fine tournament so far, Paul Pogba and Lucas Digne.

In the evening match up-and-coming Algeria midfielder Nabil Bentaleb will be out to help his country repeat their stunning defeat of Germany FR at Spain 1982, a match that took place several years before he was even born. Mannschaft youngsters Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler will almost certainly be among the substitutes for what promises to be an intriguing occasion. 

Herrera: I want to finish what we’ve started

Going out of the FIFA World Cup™ after conceding twice in the last five minutes is a bitter pill for any footballer to swallow and so, as is to be expected, dejection and sadness were etched on the faces of the Mexican players following their dramatic 2-1 defeat by the Netherlands in the Round of 16.
Even so, everyone involved with El Tri is aware that their impressive displays on Brazilian soil must not be vain. With that in mind and despite their disappointment, determination and calm remained the order of the day for the Mexican duo that spoke exclusively to FIFA.com: goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and coach Miguel Herrera.
On the back of another fine performance here at Brazil 2014, Ochoa, who was voted Budweiser Man of the Match, emphasised the importance of focusing on the positives of this campaign. “Losing like that, in the last few minutes, is tough to take, especially as we’d played so well. But you mustn’t forget that we were up against a really great team and we came very close indeed [to winning].”
The reverse against the Oranje means that El Tri have now exited at this stage at six consecutive World Cups, though the gifted keeper insisted this trend had not turned into a mental block. “No way at all,” said Ochoa. “We could have won this game but you have to admit that the Dutch have great players. We lost because of footballing reasons, not psychological ones.”
In Ochoa’s view, what is the best way to recover from such a weighty blow?: “There’ll be plenty of time later for analysis and to think about what we need to do next. What’s clear to me right now is that we can leave here with our heads held high. We need to keep working hard and come back even stronger for the next World Cup.”

Herrera eyes 2018
Also keen to look on the bright side was coach Herrera, who insisted his players “should have no regrets, because we were the better team. Everyone had been saying how great a side the Netherlands were, but I think that we managed to control them. Unfortunately their equaliser came from a lack of concentration on our part, then the penalty [winner] came right after that.
“I think we were just lacking a bit of astuteness: we should have taken the ball out to the corners, made sure we didn’t misplace any passes. Late on we made mistakes in a couple of situations that we could have handled better, when we could have run down the dying minutes. But I repeat, I don’t think that we were weaker than them at any time.”
Echoing the words of his masterful shot-stopper, Herrera also highlighted the need to learn lessons and bounce back stronger in Russia in four years’ time: “Of course, that’s the idea. I think we’ve laid good foundations as we assembled a great side, with very talented and hard-working players. I’m very proud of my lads and I think there’s still a lot we can achieve.
“My intention is to stay in charge of the team,” said Herrera, on his own future in the role. “I’ve spoken to the people at the Mexican FA and I think they’re pleased with the job I’m doing. I’d love to be able to stay on and finish what we’ve started.”
And what about Ochoa? “I’ve really enjoyed this World Cup, which is the first one I’ve played at (he was a non-playing squad member in both 2006 and 2010). On an individual note I’m pleased with how it went, although obviously I’d have loved to win today and keep the adventure going. Even so, I’m certain that we’ll come back stronger.”

De Jong doubtful for last eight clash

Midfielder Nigel de Jong is doubtful for the Netherlands’ FIFA World Cup™ quarter-final after injuring a groin in the victory over Mexico on Sunday, coach Louis van Gaal said.

Van Gaal described the injury as a “big setback” as he plans for the Salvador quarter-final on Saturday. The AC Milan player came off the field after just nine minutes.

De Jong’s return “will be difficult for the next match” Van Gaal told reporters after the 2-1 win took his side through to the last eight.

Referee designations for matches 55 and 56

FIFA has announced the referees for FIFA World Cup™ matches 55 and 56. Argentina-Switzerland will be officiated by Jonas Eriksson, who is 40 and from Sweden. In this competition, he was in charge of the group-stage matches Ghana-USA and Cameroon-Brazil. Eriksson began refereeing at the age of 20 and made his domestic debut in the Swedish top flight aged 26. He covered two matches at UEFA EURO 2012, and in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers he was selected for the second leg of the CONMEBOL/AFC play-off between Uruguay and Jordan. Eriksson already has experience of refereeing a Swiss team having taken charge of the UEFA Europa League 2013 semi-final between Chelsea and FC Basel (3-1).

The last round-of-16 match, Belgium-USA, will be overseen by Djamel Haimoudi from Algeria. The 43-year-old is the second referee from his country to be selected for the FIFA World Cup after Belaid Lacarne in 1982. It will be Haimoudi’s third match in this tournament after Australia-Netherlands and Costa Rica-England. In the past, he officiated at three editions of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, in 2008, 2012 and 2013. At the end of the most recent edition, he refereed the final between Nigeria and Burkina Faso. In 2013, he was also assigned to two matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup, and six months year earlier he worked at the FIFA Club World Cup. His first FIFA competition was the FIFA U-20 World Cup 2011.

Click here for more information about the match officials.