Monday, January 22, 2018

Clash of the surprise packages.


The crowd outside the Arena Pernambuco prior to the start of the round of 16 clash between Costa Rica and Greece. -Photo: DONSTAN BONN.

Andy Sieupresad

Thank you for joining us and please return tomorrow where we will be featuring the Germany vs Algeria match.

Goalkeeper Navas came up big when Costa Rica needed him to and his shutout of Gekas sends his team into the quarterfinals for the first time, making it their best performance at the World Cup. They now have a date with the Netherlands at Estadio Fonte Nova in Salvador in quarterfinal number three on July 5. 

5-3: Michael Umaña beats the goalkeeper to his right as all his teammates have done. Costa Rica claims the victory and Greece goes home. What an exciting finish.

4-3: And there's a miss. Theofanis Gekas went to Navas' right and the Costa Rican custodian guessed correctly and flung himself full stretch to pull of the save. 

4-3: Joel Campbell as cool as a cucumber beats Karnezis to his right. It's interesting but all of Costa Rica kickers have gone to Karnezis' right.

3-3: Jose Holebas keeps Greece in the hunt

3-2: Geancarlo Gonzalez scores with authority for costa Rica

2-2: Lazaros Christodoulopoulos converts for Greece

2-1: Bryan Riuz scores for Costa Rica

1-1: Konstantinos Mitroglou scores for Greece

Celso Borges has the first kick and he beats Karnezis to his right with a low powerful shot. Costa Rica go one up

Penalty Shootout: The coin has been tossed and Costa Rica will kick first

120'+2: There goes theThe coin has been tossed and Costa Rica will kick first final whistle. Hold your nerves because Russian Roulette is about to take place.

120'+1: Konstantinos Mitroglou could have won it for Greece but he misshit from close range when clear on goal and allowed Navas to get a glove to the ball.

119': With extra time winding down are we going to see penalty kicks to decide the winner or is there going to be some last minute heroics.

117': Greece comes forward through Karagounis but the play is broken down and Costa Rica wins possession of the ball.

113': Lazaros Christodoulopoulos connects with a pass around the edge of the box but his effort is well saved by Navas who gets down low and pushed the ball back out for it to be cleared by his defence.

111': An acrobatic attempt at goal is off no avail as Joel Campbell is caught in an offside position

Though on the field for all of the match Georgios Samaras has not shown up. Will he leave it for late as he did in the Ivory Coast encounter?

106': The second period of extra time gets going and Costa Rica immediately has a shot on goal but it went wide.

105': It's the end of the first period of extra time. Both teams have 15 minutes to get a winning goal if they are to avoid the dreaded penalty shootout.

103': Konstantinos Mitroglou gets referee Ben Williams attention for his over aggressiveness in attempting to win the ball and is called for the foul.

99': It's all Greece now as Costa Rica has gone into a shell playing with a man short. Can they hold off their opponent and send the match to penalty kicks

Is Greece going to do it for two consecutive matches. Just as they did against Ivory Coast by scoring a late winner, will they repeat that performance against Costa Rica especially having a one-man advantage.

93': The first period of extra time is ongoing and it seems as if the equaliser by Greece has injected some life into them as they are more agressive coming forward.

90'+5: And there goes the whistle. It's extra time in Pernambuco.

90'+4: We appear to be heading for extra time as the five minutes of time added on is almost through.


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mso-ansi-language:EN-US;mso-fareast-language:EN-US;mso-bidi-language:AR-SA">Sokratis Papastathopoulos was in the right place at the right time to pounce on the rebound inside the box of a save by Navas, which he fired into the back of the net with the goalkeeper still on the carpet. 

90': GOAL. The Arena Pernambuco comes alive as Greece has equalised.

88': Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Greece) gets by one challenge but is unable to find any of his teammates with his pass. Navas comes out quickly to clean up .

85': Time is running out for Greece. They haven't taken advantage of the extra man and Costa Rica has been resolute in defence.

83': Konstantinos Manolas  reacts well to get on the end of a cross from the free kick but produces a header which goes well over the crossbar. 

80': Greece has a free kick about 25 metres out but Georgios Karagounis hit it high over the crossbar

75': Theofanis Gekas is picked up by one of his teammates with a brilliant low pass, but he doesn't receive the ball well. Costa Rica eliminates the danger and gains a goal kick.

70': Goalscorer Bryan Ruiz is booked by referee Ben Williams.

66': Oscar Duarte (Costa Rica) picks up his second yellow and takes an early exit to the dressing room. Costa Rica now has to end the game with one player less.

63': Costa Rica has a throw on the left of the field. The ball is headed up-field but Greece gets possession.

58': Greece makes a substitution as Samaris comes off and Konstantinos Mitroglou comes on.

56': Referee Ben Williams shoes a yellow card to Oscar Granados on the Costa Rican bench for unsporting behaviour.

52': GOAL. Costa Rica has scored and the crowd roars its approval on getting its wish. Christian Bolanos slipped the ball to Bryan Riuz on top of the 18-metre box and he calmly slots the ball past a beaten Orestis Karnezis.

50': Another round of jeers and whistling go up around the stadium as the crowd is eager for some action.

48': Yeltsin Tejeda of Costa Rica picks up a yellow card for a lusty tackle on Samaris.

46': Greece takes the kick off and the match has resumed.

The players are back out in the middle of the field and the second half is about to get going.

Grab a drink, grab a snack but stay logged on for the second half here in Pernambuco

It has been an indifferent 45 minutes of football. Greece has not shown much enterprise going forward while Costa Rica has produced some half chances but their finishing in front of goal has let them down.

45'+2: Referee Ben Williams blows his whistle for halftime and the crowd shows its disapproval over the lack of goals with jeers going around the stadium.

45': There will be two minutes of time added on here in Pernambuco. Hopefully a goal can come out of it.

43': Greece wins a free kick about 22 metres out. Samaris takes it but Navas comes off his line quickly to effect the save.

40': Referee Ben Williams penalises Celos Borges of Costa Rica for a foul by awarding a free kick to Greece.

36': Andreas Samaris (Greece) is yellow carded for a tough foul on Joel campbell

There's a lull in proceedings as the tempo has slowed a bit. The crowd tries to spur the players on with shouts of Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole.

29': Georgios Karagounis, wearing the number 10 for Greece, has a shot on goal but it goes into the safe arms of goalkeeper Keylor Navas

27': Greece has yet to stage a decent attempt on goal as it has been all Costa Rica up to this point.

A Mexican wave is going around the stadium at this point and the roar that goes with it is deafening 

21': The referee awards Costa Rica  a free kick just outside the 18-metre box on the right of goal. This is in a potentially dangerous position but nothing comes out of it as Greece gets a goal kick.

18': Bryan Ruiz  of Costa Rica is fouled by two defenders just on the touch line in the middle of the field as he attempted to make a breakaway at goal.

13': Lazaros Christodoulopoulos of Greece tries a shot form about 22 metres out but it sails wide.

9': Christian Bolanas gets in on the left of goal and is in a great position to score for Costa Rica but his effort flies harmlessly over the crossbar.

A look around the ground shows a sea for red and yellow, mixed with some signs of blue in between. Red is the colour of the Costa Rican supporters, yellow the colour of Brazil and blue for Greece.

5': Cristian Gamboa has Costa Rica's first shot at goal but it goes wide of the upright.

1': The match is underway at Arena Pernambuco and it appears that Costa Rica outnumbers Greece about 10 to 1 in terms of support as at the kick off a lusty round of Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole, Ticos, Ticos can be heard around the stadium.


Today’s round of 16 clash between Costa Rica and Greece feature two of the surprise packages in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Los Ticos took Brazil by storm; first defeating the highly fancied Uruguay 2-1 and followed it up with a 1-0 win over another ranked opponent, group seed Italy, in their first two Group D fixtures. They would close out their round robin assignments with a goalless draw against England, which led to both Italy and England failing to progress to the knockout round of the tournament.

Greece, on the other hand, came into the tournament void of any big name players apart from Georgios Samaras, who once wore the number nine shirt for Celtic in Scotland. An opening round loss to Colombia was followed by a goalless stalemate with Japan. But they left their best for last when midfielder Andreas Samaris scored in the 42nd minute to give them the lead against the Ivory Coast in an all-important final Group C encounter.

Ivory Coast would draw level through Wilfried Bony in the 74th but a Samaras penalty in the third minute of time added on at the end of 90 minutes sealed Greece’s progress to the knockout phase and sent an unlucky Ivory Coast home.

A win, a loss and a draw is probably more than what most expected of this team but given the opportunity to get this far they just may be full of more surprises.

The two have never met at the World Cup before but this is Costa Rica’s fourth trip, having played 13 matches with a five-two-six, win-draw-loss record. In the process they scored 16 goals while conceding 22 with their best performance prior to now coming in 1990 where they also made it to the round of 16.

2014 represents Greece’s third World Cup after appearances in 1994 and 2010. In nine matches played they won two, drew one and lost six, scoring just four goals while conceding 19, however, they have now registered their best performance after failing to make it out of the group stage on their previous two showings.

Based on Costa Rica’s performance they seem like the obvious choice to claim the win and move on to a quarterfinal showdown against the Netherlands, who came from a goal down to defeat Mexico 2-1 earlier today, but it knockout time and any number can play. Just ask Uruguay.