This Saturday is the start of the knockout stages in the 2014 World Cup. My picks and predictions for Saturday’s matches will include brief previews for both matches taking place. Read on for my Costa Rica vs Greece preview with prediction and starting lineup.
Costa Rica v Greece – Sunday, June 29 @ 4pm
Both Costa Rica and Greece have made it to the round of 16 despite having nearly every pundit against them. Very few would have picked either of these teams to have advanced from their groups and especially for Costa Rica to advance let alone top the table.
Costa Rica has certainly been the shock of the tournament so far and they look likely to push on into the quarterfinals. They have set themselves up as a very difficult team to beat while also surprising teams with their ability to get goals. During the group stages they allowed just one goal in their three matches while also scoring four in a group of three previous World Cup winners.
Greece is also a surprise to make it through to the round of 16. Their advancing has as much to do with the inability of the other teams in the group as it does with their own ability. They managed just one win and one draw while allowing 4 goals and scoring just 2. This makes them the only team to advance with a negative goal difference having finished with -2.
My prediction is a Costa Rica win to keep the Ticos run alive and moving on to the Quarterfinals. Greece could continue their shocking run, but Costa Rica will prove a more difficult opponent than the struggling Japan and Ivory Coast. It might end with a close score-line but Costa Rica should dominate this.
Predicted Starting Lineups:
Costa Rica (5-4-1): Navas; Gamboa, Duarte, Gonzalez, Umana, Diaz; Ruiz, Borges, Tejeda, Bolanos; Campbell
Greece (4-2-3-1): Glykos; Torosidis, Manolas, Sokratis, Holebas; Maniatis, Karaounis; Salpingidis, Samairs, Christodoulopoulos; Samaras