The Netherlands will be looking to get past Mexico on Day 17 of the 2014 World Cup as the first knockout round continues on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal's side have been one of the tournament's top teams so far, getting off to a flying start as they beat reigning champions Spain 5-1 in their group opener and went on to claim victories in their next two matches.
However, they will need to keep their form going to challenge a strong Mexico side who held hosts Brazil to a 0-0 draw in Group A.
The day's second game is between surprise packages Costa Rica and Greece with the Central American side looking to keep at the level that saw them top Group D ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England.
Read on for full television and live streaming information as well as a prediction for both of Sunday's last-16 encounters.
|Date||Time||Fixture||TV Info||Live Stream|
|June 29||5 p.m./Noon||Netherlands vs. Mexico||ITV/ESPN||ITV Player/ESPN Player|
|June 29||9 p.m./4 p.m.||Costa Rica vs. Greece||ITV/ESPN||ITV Player/ESPN Player|
Netherlands vs. Mexico
The Oranje did not come into the tournament as many observers' tips to go deep at the World Cup, but their group-stage performances have marked them out as genuine contenders.
In 2010 they made it to the final and lost to Spain, thus they will be looking to go one better this time around.
However, they will need to get past Mexico first, and Miguel Herrera's side look a different team to that which stuttered through qualifying.
They are building into the tournament nicely and finished group proceedings with a flourish as they beat a good Croatia side 3-1, per Fox Soccer's Kyle McCarthy:
Mexico excellent again. Deserve round of 16 place. Herrera has done a magnificent job with this side to instill belief and structure. #MEX— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) June 23, 2014
Both sides have attacking flair, and the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Oribe Peralta, Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez will all be on show in Fortaleza.
Mexico have a terrific record of reaching the last 16—this is the sixth consecutive World Cup in which they have made it out of the groups—but they have not reached a quarter-final since 1986, per football writer Tom Marshall:
Netherlands vs. Mexico - Sunday, June 29 in Fortaleza. El Tri going for first quarterfinal since 1986 and first ever outside Mexico.— Tom Marshall (@mexicoworldcup) June 23, 2014
It looks as though they may fall short once again as Van Gaal's side edge Mexico in terms of overall quality and should prevail, but it is likely to be a close encounter.
Prediction: Netherlands 2-1 Mexico
Costa Rica vs. Greece
This particular last-16 tie is not one that many predicted when the draw was made back in December, as both sides were tipped for an early exit, per Sky Sports' Matthew Stanger:
Either Costa Rica or Greece in the World Cup quarter-finals. Not sure many would have predicted that.— Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) June 24, 2014
However, as so often happens in the World Cup, both squads really stepped up in the group stages, Costa Rica not losing a game and Greece making it through courtesy of a last-minute winner against Ivory Coast.
Jorge Luis Pinto's side convincingly beat Uruguay 3-1 in their group opener and went on to down Italy 1-0 in two of the tournament's shock results.
Who will prevail in Recife?
They fully deserved both victories and are a dangerous side with both ability in attack and organisation in defence.
Unfortunately for Greece, they just have not shown the same quality as Costa Rica in the tournament and are unlikely to make it to the quarter-finals.
They performed well against Ivory Coast, but they lack real threat up front and have bagged only two goals in the whole tournament—while conceding four.
A high-scoring game is unlikely as Greece will probably attempt to shut up shop and hit Costa Rica on the break, but Pinto's side should have enough to make it through to the last eight.
Prediction: Costa Rica 1-0 Greece