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Round of 16 - Netherlands vs Mexico (17:00 BST) & Costa Rica vs Greece (21:00 BST)


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Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal welcomes back captain Robin van Persie from suspension.Bruno Martins Indi is only fit enough to return to the bench after concussion so Dirk Kuyt continues at left back.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera is without Jose Vasquez, who serves a one-match ban, so Carlos Salcido will deputise as the holding midfielder.

Aside from that, they are expected to be unchanged from the side that beat Croatia.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera: "We have a great atmosphere and a great attitude going into this game, and that is key. But we also have to play very well because we are facing a very difficult opponent.

"Do we believe this could be Mexico's World Cup? Yes, more than ever. We are very convinced that this time will be different for us, and we are ready to make history.

"I can't compare myself with Louis Van Gaal. He's done such outstanding things, and it's an honour to play against him. This is my first World Cup."


This last-16 clash pits the top scorers of the group stage against the country with the joint-best defence.

The Netherlands reached double figures in Group B and their firepower is boosted for this match by the return of in-form captain Robin van Persie.

But, despite their 10-goal haul, coach Louis van Gaal came under attack from Chile counterpart Jorge Sampaoli, who said the Dutch employed negative tactics in their final group game and "only aspired to long shots".

The new Manchester United boss seemed baffled by the accusations. "One has to develop a strategy that can win" he said, and it does seem puzzling how they can be criticised given how the likes of van Persie, Arjen Robben and youngster Memphis Depay have dazzled so far.

The only goal the rock solid Mexicans let in at the group stage was a late consolation strike by Croatia.

Goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa may be getting all the headlines for a string of eye-catching displays, but in front of him the imperious Rafael Marquez continues to show what a special player he has been for Los Aztecas.

The only player in history to have captained his nation at four World Cups has now also scored in three of them following his header against the Croats.

"When you see a guy who's won everything he has, who's 35 and is in this kind of form at his fourth World Cup, we don't need him to say too much - just watching him on the pitch is enough," said team-mate Andres Guardado.

Confidence is high among the squad and they have real belief they can end their disappointing run of five successive second-round exits.

Their coach, Miguel Herrera, is pure box office due to his touchline and Twitter theatrics. He described qualifying for the last 16 as "one of the happiest days of my life" and celebrated in some style with his players. Imagine the celebrations if they manage to beat the Netherlands and reach the quarter-finals for the first time ever outside of Mexico.



• Mexico have lost three and drawn one of their last four encounters with the Netherlands, conceding at least two goals on each of these occasions.

• The only previous World Cup meeting between these two sides came in 1998 when Mexico came from 2-0 down with 15 minutes remaining to draw 2-2 in the group stage.

• Mexico are the only North, Central American or Caribbean nation to beat a European side in a World Cup knockout tie in the post-war era, doing so against Bulgaria in 1986.

• Ten of the last 12 World Cup goals scored by Mexico have come after half time, while the Netherlands have scored eight of their last nine World Cup goals in the second half.


• The Netherlands have won nine of their last 10 World Cup matches, with the only defeat coming in the 2010 final against Spain.

• If selected, Dirk Kuyt will become the seventh Dutch player to win 100 caps.

• Memphis Depay can become the first player to score as a substitute in his first three appearances at a World Cup.

• Arjen Robben has scored eight goals in his last nine appearances for the Dutch and he has scored or assisted seven goals (five goals, two assists) in his last seven World Cup appearances.

• Robin van Persie has scored 21 goals in his last 25 international appearances.

• Robben (six) and van Persie (five) are closing in on Johnny Rep's (seven) all-time World Cup scoring record for the Netherlands.


• Mexico were one of three teams to concede only one goal in the group stage along with Costa Rica and Belgium.

• They have scored a goal in each of their last 11 World Cup matches against European nations, losing just two of these games (W4, D5, L2).

• Javier Hernandez and Rafael Marquez have scored three goals for Mexico at World Cups; only Luis Hernandez has scored more (four).

• Mexico have now reached the knockout stage in their last seven World Cup appearances.


Estadio Castelao


Costa Rica are expected to revert to the same side that beat Italy in their second group game.

That would see experienced centre-back Michael Umana and left-sided midfielder Christian Bolanos come back in for Roy Miller and Randall Brenes.

Greece captain Kostas Katsouranis is available once again, having been suspended for the Ivory Coast match.

Goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis looks to have shaken off a knock, but Panagiotis Kone is out injured.

Greece coach Fernando Santos: "We have to pay a lot of attention in this game, they came out top in the 'Group of Death'.

"As a result we cannot allow ourselves to underestimate them."

Costa Rica defender Michael Umana: "To have qualified top of the group makes us proud

"It gives us great satisfaction as a group. We have grown as a team although we have always been characterised by strong and silent work."


Written off before the tournament, Costa Rica are the headline act in Recife. The Central American side have earned their moment in the spotlight after topping a group that included three previous World Cup-winning nations and conceding just one goal in the process.

How they cope with the pressure of being favourites against the resilient Greeks is now the big question.

Both countries have been doing some last-minute homework, having not expected to face each other. Energetic midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda admitted: "We were thinking more about Colombia and the Ivory Coast. Now we have to change the video cassette."

The footage will reveal a dogged Greek side that adopt the ultra-defensive Italian catenaccio system. Their never-say-die attitude enabled them to recover from a 3-0 opening defeat by Colombia to eventually pip Ivory Coast to second spot, albeit with acontroversial last-minute penalty, and secure qualification to the last 16 for the first time.

If they make it to the quarter-finals, the Greek Federation may have a problem as coach Fernando Santos's contract expires on Monday. He has previously said he doesn't intend staying a day longer.

Santos has dismissed criticism of Greece's perceived dour approach: "I can only laugh as it is a joke. In football one attacks and one defends. We know how to defend well and we are very good on the counter-attack. This big success belongs to the players."

In Joel Campbell, Costa Rica have a spy in the camp. The Arsenal youngster spent last season on loan at Greek champions Olympiakos, scoring 11 goals in all competitions.

He could be key to his country's game plan, with technical assistant Luis Marin revealing that the Ticos are targeting an early goal. He has said: "It's crucial for us to score early, especially as Greece are known to tighten up at the back once they score."

The strength of these two proud nations is their team ethic, and for one of them the uncharted waters of a World Cup quarter-final await.



• This will be the first ever meeting between Costa Rica and Greece.

Costa Rica

• Costa Rica have reached the last 16 of the World Cup only once before, in 1990, when they lost 4-1 to Czechoslovakia. Current squad members Yeltsin Tejeda, Joel Campbell, Waylon Francis and Diego Calvo were not born then.

• The last team from CONCACAF to go further than the last 16 at the World Cup are the USA in 2002.

• Costa Rica are yet to let in a goal from open play at this World Cup, having only conceded a penalty against Uruguay's Edinson Cavani. They conceded the equal fewest goals in the group stage along with Mexico and Belgium.

• Keylor Navas has saved seven of the eight shots on target he has faced in this World Cup.


• This is the first time that Greece have ever reached the knockout stage of the World Cup.

• Greece's seven wins at major tournaments have never been by more than one clear goal (four 1-0 victories and three 2-1 wins).

• They have only won two of their nine World Cup games, both 2-1 wins and both against African sides (v Nigeria in 2010 and Ivory Coast in 2014). Those victories are the only games in which they have managed to score.

• Their only clean sheet in those nine matches came against Japan earlier in this tournament.

• Greece are the only nation in the last 16 that ended the group phase with a negative goal difference (-2).

• Georgios Samaras' goal against Ivory Coast in Greece's last game ended his goalscoring drought of 1,478 minutes (24 hr 38 min) with the national team. His penalty against Ivory Coast is his only shot on target at this World Cup (270 minutes.


Arena Pernambuco

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Don't mind who wins the first game, I like them both. Would rather Holland didn't win the tournament overall though to avoid the English media spazzfest over the new United manager.

Definitely rooting for Costa Rica in the other game though, Greece so mind numbingly boring.

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Highlights from Holland and Mexico's only previous WC meeting. Group Stage game in 1998.

Horror show from Jaap Stam for the Mexico equaliser.

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Is my TV breaking or is the sound coming across 'warbled' for anyone else?

Was just that channel on my box. Turned it off and back on and it's fine now.

Think 3-1 to Netherlands here.

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Would rather Mexico won as a neutral but I have money on Netherlands to win... win/win either way, I guess.

I thought Netherlands would do very well against the slow Mexican backline but so far Mexico's tactics have been spot on...they look the better side so far.

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The Netherlands haven't started well at all.

Think this wasn't a penalty kick right now, but certainly an indirect freekick. First mistake by the Portuguese ref Proença today.

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Robben is impossible to tackle...so tricky.

Not sure why the ref goes to blow his whistle then decides play on a minute later.

e: Oh calling it a dive?

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México's number 6 (Herrera?) having a good game.

He's looked 10 times better this whole tournament than at any point for Porto this season. We could see we maybe had a potential good player there, but perhaps playing him slightly out of position (often as a DM) didn't help.

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Unless someone has already updated wiki for this to be his 99th... yes.

Aha, that's why I was asking - wasn't sure if wiki had been updated for his 99th/100th or not :D

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If they're going to give a cooling break why don't they just pause the clock? They've kept the clock going which just adds a load of injury time. We're going to get like 7 minutes injury time :D

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