The World Cup’s round of 16 continues Sunday with a pair of intriguing matchups (all times EDT):
Netherlands vs. Mexico in Fortaleza, noon, ESPN
Costa Rica vs. Greece in Recife, 4 p.m., ESPN
At stake: Sunday’s winners square off in the quarterfinals on Friday at noon in Rio de Janeiro.
Netherlands vs. Mexico
The Netherlands entered the World Cup as a darkhorse contender to win the tournament, but after winning Group B with nine points and tying with Colombia for the greatest goal differential (plus-7) in the group stage, the Dutch are among the favorites in the round of 16. Led by Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben (three goals apiece in the group stage), the Netherlands will test Mexico’s defense on Sunday. Midfielder Carlos Salcido will replace suspended Jose Juan Vazquez for Mexico, which looks to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986. Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa was among the standouts of the group stage. Ochoa conceded one goal in three matches, and held potent Brazil scoreless in a draw.
Costa Rica vs. Greece
Costa Rica was one of the most surprising stories of the group stage after Los Ticos won Group D, which featured traditional powers Uruguay, Italy and England. Making its second appearance in the knockout round — and its first since 1990 — Costa Rica is the favorite against defensive-minded Greece. The Greeks were shut out in their first two matches of the group stage — a 3-0 loss to Colombia and a scoreless draw against Japan. It took a late penalty kick goal against Ivory Coast for Coach Fernando Santos’s squad to advance.
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