Today’s summary of the Round of 16 matches at the FIFA World Cup for Monday, June 30 in Brazil.
Costa Rica win shoot-out to reach finals
It seemed as if Costa Rica was coasting to the finals when Bryan Ruiz scored the team’s only goal at the 52nd minute after a scoreless and ultimately dull first half. It was do-or-die for both teams and one could sense the desperation the sides must have felt as they struggled to net the ball.
But Greece weren’t about to go down without a fight: a last-minute goal from Greek defender Socratis Papastathopoulos sent the teams into a heated extra time. The pressure built for both teams but extra time proved goalless and the game progressed to a penalty shootout.
Both teams managed to get their first three penalties in without drama. Theofanis Gekas missing the fourth shot for his side heralded disaster for the Greeks. The intense penalty shootout was brought to a close when Michael Umaña’s penalty kick for Costa Rica booked their tickets to the finals.
Costa Rica wins 1-1 (5-3), Greece eliminated
Netherlands soar at the death to snatch victory
A relatively tame first half for the game meant the pressure was on for both teams to perform in the second half. When Giovani dos Santos scored for Mexico, everything seemed to be going their way. But things went pear-shaped when Paul Aguilar was yellow-carded at the 69th minute. Netherlands, scenting blood, were back in the hunt. They drew blood at the 88th minute when Wesley Sneijder scored an equaliser. When two more Mexican players were sent off, the gate swung wide open for Netherlands. A goal from Dutchman Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the very last minute of stoppage time shattered Mexican hopes. The Netherlands team and their fans began to party in celebration.
Netherlands wins 2-1, Mexico eliminated – Noah La’ulu
Top photo from Express Sports’ Twitter page.