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RIO DE JANEIRO, June 30. /ITAR-TASS/. The triumph of the team of the Netherlands over Mexico and Costa Rica's success in a match against the Greeks in the Round of 16 of the current FIFA World Cup in Brazil became the best remembered events of the 18th day of the main football tournament of the past four years.
The Netherlands versus Mexico match, which began at 8pm Moscow time and was played at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza presented to onlookers a vigorous dramatic going with a vehement outcome. The Dutch were reckoned obvious favorites in the match against Mexico. However, the Mexicans had already accustomed everyone that none might be a favorite in a match against them.
The first half of the game went off without obvious scoring opportunities but with an actable advantage of the Mexican team. All the advantage was logically effected at the beginning of the second half when a fine goal was scored from afar by Giovani dos Santos 1-0.
Following that, the Dutch bucked up and worked the pace of the game up to an unbelievable level. For some time the Mexican defenders, led by inimitable Guillermo Ochoa, managed to resist the opponents' most powerful onslaught but in the end the Dutch succeeded in achieving their aim. Wesley Sneijder slammed in an excelllent goal in the 88th minute. But in the compensated-time spell the referee ordered a penalty kick at the Mexican goal cage for bringing down Arjen Robben in the penalty area. Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar approached the penalty spot and in an efficient penalty shoot-out scored 2-1.
The Dutch had qualified for the quarterfinals in 1999 just in the same manner in which the Manchester United won the Champions League tournament in a match against the German Bavaria. The outcome of that match had been also decided in the last minutes and ended with an exactly the same score.
As far as the Greece vs. Costa Rica match is concerned, in the first half the opponents acted too cautiously and were constantly looking back at their goal cages. The onlookers at the Pernambuco Stadium in Recife could get even bored. But later on, at the very beginning of the second half of the game, those who were rooting for the Costa Rican team simply roared in delight. Bryan Ruiz, captain of the Costa Rican team, sent a ball in a low cross from the penalty area line very close to the far-end post of the Greek team's goal cage and opened the score 1-0. The Greeks found themselves in a disadvantageous-to-them role of a taking-out side while the Costa Ricans subsequently expected that they would be able to dry the game out, as they did in the recent match against the Italians.
However, they were obviously let down by fullback Oscar Duarte who managed to be shown two yellow card by the 66th minute. Those cards then developed into a red one. Finding themselves ovemannned, the Greeks stepped up pressure on the goal cage of the opponents but the latter's defenders acted quite well, just as goalkeeper Keylor Navas who made a splendid showing. However, the Greeks displayed their iron will and character and evened the score. This was done already in stop page time added to the second half when Sokratis Papastathopoulos sent the ball into the opponents' goal cage and thereby saved his team 1-1.
In extra time, the Greek footballers failed to score in a whole lot of situations and the the fate of the match had to be decided in a series of penalty shoot-outs. The Costa Ricans were the first to shoot out, scoring each time. The Greeks at first did not lag in accuracy. Theofanis Gekas, who was the fourth to shoot out failed to outperform Navas. Next, a fifth shoot-out by Costa Ricans could be decisive for the Costa Ricans. Michael Umana efficinetly effected a penalty shoot-out, bringing a great victory to his country 1-1 and 5-3 in penalty shoot-outs.
For the first time in history, the Costa Ricans qualified for the quarterfinals of the World Cup Finals in which they will now measure strength in a match against the formidable Dutch while the Greeks leave the tournament in Brazil with their heads high, just like the genuine heroes of Hellas.
Another two matched of the Round of 16 are to be played on June 30. The national teams of France and Nigeria will play in a match at the Mane Garrinha in Brasilia at 8pm Moscow time. A Germany vs. Algeria match will be played at the Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegri on the night from Monday to Tuesday.