Heartbreak for Mexico while Costa Rica advances on penalties | World Cup Day 18 Recap

Holland came back against Mexico; a former Galaxy player proved crucial to the Ticos

Here is a recap of Day 18 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

NETHERLANDS 2 MEXICO 1

Mexico was mere minutes away from their first appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals since 1986, but heroics – and a bit of controversy—from the Netherlands saw El Tri crash out of the tournament with a 2-1 defeat.  Giovani Dos Santos gave Mexico the lead in the 48th minute after a brilliant individual effort that he blasted into the back of the Dutch net. Up a goal, Miguel Herrera’s Mexican side dropped back allowing the Netherlands to dictate the tempo and in the 88th minute they were rewarded as Wesley Sneijder scored off a set piece to equalize.  The heartbreak for Mexico was complete in the third minute of stoppage time when Arjen Robben went to ground after a light challenge by Rafael Marquez leading referee Pedro Proenca to point to the spot. Moments later, Klaas Jan Huntelaar stepped up and slotted his penalty past Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa to give the Dutch the win.

COSTA RICA 1 GREECE 1 (Costa Rica advance 5-3 on penalties)

Costa Rica reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in their nation’s history with a 5-3 penalty kick shootout victory over Greece following a cagey 1-1 draw. Bryan Ruiz put Costa Rica up after 51 minutes with a low rolling shot from distance that froze the Greeks, but in the waning moments of second half stoppage time, Sokratis Papastathopoulos leveled for the Europeans. With Costa Rica already down a man after Oscar Duarte received his second yellow midway through the second half, the Ticos were on the back heel throughout extra time with goalkeeper Keylor Navas making several important saves. Following three straight successive penalties for both sides, Navas played the hero by stopping the attempt of Greece’s Theofanis Gekas. The save set the stage for former LA Galaxy defender Michael Umaña who buried his attempt to send the Ticos through to the quarters.

The round of 16 continues on Monday with France taking on Nigeria at 9:00 a.m. PT before Germany faces off against Algeria at 1:00 p.m. PT.

Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com.