Both of today’s matches offer the chance of an upset. Argentina were one of the pre-tournament favourites whilst Belgium are one of the surprise teams to reach this stage. In the second match we have, to my mind, the surprise of the tournament, Costa Rica winners of the group containing Italy, Uruguay and of course England versus Holland.
If Eden Hazard can produce his best form there is a chance, a good chance, that he can get a few good crosses in for the likes of Lukaku to get on the end of.
Of course, it will be vital for Belgium to keep Lionel Messi quiet and Axel Witsel just might be the player to do so. The problem for Belgium is that in addition to Messi they have some other very effective players. Angel Di Maria for one and perhaps the sneakiest player in the game Mascherano, he is so adept at the shirt pulls and ankle taps as well as the outright assaults that I’m amazed he manages to stay on the pitch for so long. Higuain has had a disappointing time so far, perhaps he will come good today.
I would love Belgium to do it, but fear Messi and Co. will have too much fire power. So a Germany/Argentina semi-final looks to be in prospect.
Next up Costa Rica versus Holland. Should be a straight forward win for the Dutch side, shouldn’t it?
If Arjen Robben performs to his usual standard we can expect at least one penalty, most refs seem to award one after two or three of his expertly performed tumbles. His other scoring option is to cut in from the right and unleash a ferocious left foot strike into the far corner of the goal. Costa Rica need to be aware of his proclivity for diving as well as be ready to crowed him out on the edge of the box. Junior Diaz and will have to be a bit more defensive minded than usual and will need back up from Umana and Borges. There is also the threat from van Persie, and not just from his elbows, we all know his capabilities, and he will take some stopping.
For Costa Rica, Ruiz must try to use his pace to get behind both Kuyt and the Dutch defence to feed Joel Campbell some balls to run onto, the Arsenal youngster has a good eye for goal and it would be nice if he could get one or two today.
This is going to be a tough game for Costa Rica, I think Holland may just have too much fire power and nous for them to overcome. Holland to go through.