World Cup roundup: CRC-GRE, NED-MEX (June 29)
Costa Rica 1 (5 penalties), Greece 1 (3 penalties)
RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica beat Greece in a penalty shootout Sunday to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time after defending desperately with 10 men for nearly an hour.
Michael Umana scored the decisive penalty as Costa Rica won the shootout 5-3 after the game ended 1-1 following extra time.
Greece’s Theofanis Gekas saw his penalty saved by Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas for the only miss in the shootout. Umana scored and straight away, sprinted over to where Navas stood to hug him after the goalkeeper kept Costa Rica’s surprise run at the World Cup alive with a string of last-gasp stops through the 120 minutes.
The rest of the Costa Rican squad, which had knelt in a line during the shootout, also came racing over to join the celebrations.
Costa Rica will play the Netherlands in the quarterfinals Saturday in Salvador — a first appearance in the last eight for the small Central American country that no one picked to even make it past the group stage.
“To the entire people in Costa Rica, those at home and out on the streets, this is for you,” Costa Rica’s Colombian coach Jorge Luis Pinto said. “This is a people that love football and they deserve it. ... We will continue fighting. We will go on. We see beautiful things.”
While the Costa Rican team made its own World Cup history, it also ended Greece’s best-ever run. Greece was playing in the second round for the first time.
Netherlands 2, Mexico 1
FORTALEZA, Brazil — Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Wesley Sneijder scored late goals today to give the Netherlands a 2-1 victory over Mexico and a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Huntelaar, who came on as a 76th-minute substitute, scored the winning goal from the penalty spot deep in injury time after Rafael Marquez brought down Arjen Robben in the area.
“You don’t know when your chance will come, but it was today, and so you grab it with both hands,” said Huntelaar, who was making his first appearance at this year’s World Cup. “And it was fantastic.”
Giovani Dos Santos gave the Mexicans the lead in the 48th minute, but Sneijder equalized for the Dutch in the 88th.
It was the first time Sneijder, who scored five goals at the last World Cup in South Africa, has found the net in Brazil.
Robben has already scored three goals for the Dutch at this year’s tournament, but after earning the late penalty, he handed the ball to Huntelaar.
“Klaas is a great penalty taker. He was fresh, had just come on and I had faith in him,” Robben said. “I asked him if he wanted to take it and he was very sure of himself.”
The Mexicans had conceded only one goal in three group matches and looked like they would keep another clean sheet until the late collapse.
It was heartbreak again for Mexico, which has now reached the second stage of the World Cup six straight times without winning.
After the final whistle, the Mexican players collapsed, distraught on the turf while many of their fans were in tears.
Mexico coach Miguel Herrera blamed the referee for the loss, saying Robben dived to earn the penalty.
“Today it was the man with the whistle who eliminated us from the World Cup,” Herrera said.
It was the fourth straight win for the Netherlands at the World Cup after routing defending champion Spain 5-1 and beating Australia 3-2 and Chile 2-0 in Group B.
The Dutch will next face either Costa Rica or Greece in the quarterfinals Saturday in Salvador.