FIFA World Cup

Picking a Combined Netherlands vs. Costa Rica 2014 World Cup XI

Elko BornContributor IJuly 3, 2014

Picking a Combined Netherlands vs. Costa Rica 2014 World Cup XI

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    On Saturday, the Netherlands and Costa Rica will face each other in the quarter-final of the World Cup in Brazil. 

    Both nations have done well to get where they are, with a handful of players standing out and guiding their teams to victory after victory. 

    Here, we take both country's best players and combine them into an ultimate Netherlands and Costa Rica World Cup XI.

Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas

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    Sergei Grits/Associated Press

    One of the most important players for Costa Rica has been Keylor Navas. 

    The goalkeeper made save after save against opponents like Italy and Uruguay, and against Greece in the round of 16, he ensured victory for his team during the penalty shootout. 

    In this XI, he is picked ahead of Jasper Cillessen, who has been decent enough for the Netherlands but not as influential.

Right-Back: Cristian Gamboa

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    Moises Castillo/Associated Press

    A key player for Costa Rica has been Rosenborg's Cristian Gamboa. 

    The right-back, who plays as a wing-back for his country, has been a major factor in Costa Rica's ability to counter-attack. 

    In this XI, Gamboa is picked ahead of his Netherlands counterparts Daryl Janmaat and Paul Verhaegh, both of whom have not been as convincing as the Costa Rica wing-back. 

Centre-Back: Ron Vlaar

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Ahead of the tournament, not many people expected a world-class performance from Aston Villa centre-back Ron Vlaar.

    But so far, Vlaar has been the rock at the back for the Netherlands. Even against attackers like Diego Costa, Alexis Sanchez and Eduardo Vargas, he has been outstanding. 

Centre-Back: Stefan de Vrij

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    Peter Dejong/Associated Press

    Partnering with Vlaar in the centre of the defence will be Stefan de Vrij. 

    Not very well-known outside of the Netherlands before the World Cup started, the Feyenoord youngster has proved he's ready to perform on international football's biggest stage. 

    After the World Cup, a transfer to one of Europe's big leagues might be on the card for De Vrij, who has well and truly outgrown the Dutch Eredivisie.  

Left-Back: Daley Blind

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    Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

    Most World Cups introduce a couple of young talents to the world. This time around, Daley Blind is one of those.

    As left wing-back, Daley Blind has been a key man in manager Louis van Gaal's 5-3-2 formation. But he has also played as a defensive midfielder, for example, against Mexico, when Nigel de Jong was taken off injured. 

    The versatile Blind would be a welcome addition to most World Cup squads, and as such, it's impossible to ignore him in this XI. 

Defensive Midfielder: Celso Borges

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Costa Rica's captain Celso Borges has been constitutive to his team's style of play this World Cup. 

    Apparently, Borges is also a great motivator.

    In this XI, Borges will form a formidable partnership with De Jong, protecting the back four and assuring the team conquers possession. 

Defensive Midfielder: Nigel de Jong

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    As a defensive midfielder, Nigel de Jong has been the Netherlands' gatekeeper, making tackles, winning possession and making sure nobody gets a free run towards Oranje's centre-backs. 

    Early on in the match against Mexico, De Jong suffered an injury, and it's very likely he'll miss the rest of the tournament, as was reported by the Guardian

    Nonetheless, De Jong has been one of the Netherlands' best players, and as such it's impossible not to include him in this XI. 

Attacking Midfielder: Bryan Ruiz

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    Ian Walton/Getty Images

    Possibly their biggest star player, Bryan Ruiz has been absolutely vital to Costa Rica's World Cup campaign so far. 

    The attacker, who sometimes plays as an attacking midfielder, has scored a number of important goals, for example, against Italy during the group stage. 

    In this XI, Ruiz, who spent most of last year on loan from Fulham at PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, will play just behind the attacking trio. 

Attacker: Arjen Robben

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    He was always good, but this World Cup, Arjen Robben surprised friend and foe by developing into an ever better player. 

    Together with Robin van Persie, Robben has been the driving force behind the Oranje's attacking power. So far, he has scored three goals and provided one assist for his country. 

Attacker: Robin van Persie

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Robben is not the Netherlands' only star player. Robin van Persie, who has scored three goals for the Netherlands so far, has been of vital importance as well. 

    As the focal point of Van Gaal's 5-3-2 formation, Van Persie has been able to shine like he has never shined before, at least not at a World Cup. 

    In this XI, Van Persie will form an attacking partnership with his Costa Rican counterpart Joel Campbell. 

Attacker: Joel Campbell

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    Ricardo Mazalan/Associated Press

    Joel Campbell, who will return to Arsenal after a loan spell at Olympiakos after the World Cup, has arguably been the most important factor in Costa Rica's success so far. 

    As his team's main striker, he's been the vocal point of Costa Rica's counter-attacks, utilising his speed to catch opponents on the break.

    In this XI, Campbell will start on the right, allowing Van Persie to take up the role of main striker. 

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