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Sunday, June 29, 2014

2014 World Cup Round of 16: Costa Rica vs Greece Betting Picks

Of the eight round of 16 matches, the most unlikely matchup is between Greece and Costa Rica. However, the two teams will meet for the first time ever on a soccer pitch Sunday in Recife. The winner will face either Mexico or the Netherlands in the ...


Costa Rica Plays Greece: World Cup Live Updates

ABC NewsCosta Rica Plays Greece: World Cup Live UpdatesABC NewsWell, at least Brazilian fans are breathing easier this morning. Kicking things off today at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Netherlands came back from a one-gial deficit to knock off Mexico 2-1. Mexico has now been eliminated in the Round of 16 in its last six ...World Cup|Costa Rica vs. Greece: World Cup 2014 Live BlogNew York TimesCosta Rica vs Greece World Cup 2014 LIVE: Line ups in as Joel Campbell leads ...Daily MailWorld Cup 2014: Costa Rica vs. Greece LiveWall Street Journal (blog)TVNZ -India Today -The Guardianall 604 news articles »


Costa Rica makes 2 changes for World Cup round of 16, Greece goalkeeper Karnezis fit

by  Associated Press Costa Rica makes 2 changes for Greece in World Cup Associated Press - 29 June 2014 15:17-04:00

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) — Costa Rica made two changes for the World Cup second-round game against Greece on Sunday, bringing defender Michael Umana and winger Christian Bolanos back into the starting lineup after they were rested for the final group match against England.

Costa Rica will again be led up front by Joel Campbell and captain Bryan Ruiz as the Central Americans seek a place in the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.

Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis was fit to start after he struggled with a back problem in the buildup to the game at Arena Pernambuco in Recife. Midfielder Andreas Samaris is promoted to the Greece starting 11 after scoring against Ivory Coast in their group decider, when the Greeks scraped through to the second round with an injury-time penalty.

One of the two countries will make the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.



Costa Rica: Keylor Navas; Giancarlo Gonzalez, Michael Umana, Oscar Duarte, Junior Diaz, Cristian Gamboa; Celso Borges, Christian Bolanos, Yeltsin Tejeda; Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz.

Greece: Orestis Karnezis; Kostas Manolas, Vasileios Torosidis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Jose Holebas; Andreas Samaris, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Giorgos Karagounis, Giannis Maniatis; Georgios Samaras, Dimitris Salpingidis.

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, International soccer, Soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Michael Umana, Orestes Karnezis, Andreas Samaris, Keylor Navas, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Giorgos Karagounis, Georgios Samaras, Greece, Recife, Brazil, Costa Rica, Western Europe, Europe, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Central America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Dutch delighted, Mexicans furious as Netherlands reaches World Cup quarterfinals via penalty

by  Associated Press Dutch advance with late penalty over Mexico by JOHN PYE, Associated Press - 29 June 2014 16:00-04:00

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — It took a late penalty to send the Dutch into the quarterfinals and prolong Mexico's miserable memories of the World Cup's second round, casting Arjen Robben as a savior in one country and a villain in the other.

A Netherlands attack that scored five goals against 2010 champion Spain in its opening match needed 88 minutes to find a way past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa in oppressive heat on Sunday.

Once they did, it happened quickly. Wesley Sneijder's bullet-like strike in the 88th minute canceled out Giovani Dos Santos' 48th-minute opener for Mexico. Klaas Jan Huntelaar sealed the 2-1 win with a calmly-taken penalty late in stoppage time after Mexico captain Rafael Marquez took down Robben in the area.

Netherlands will next play on Saturday in Salvador against the winner of the second-round match at Recife between Costa Rica and Greece, two teams which had never previously advanced beyond the group stage.

The veteran Dutch forward had been dangerous in attack but all his efforts had been fruitless, as had his numerous appeals for penalties and fouls.

"Unbelievable," Robben said. "Five minutes from full time, we were out."

It was unbelievable for Mexico coach Miguel Herrera, too. The effusive coach was mystified that the penalty was awarded by referee Pedro Proenca, disputing the contact that resulted in Robben sprawling on the pitch.

"Today it was the man with the whistle who eliminated us from the World Cup," Herrera said. "We ended up losing because he whistled a penalty that did not exist.

"I repeat this because (Robben) dived three times. The referee should have cautioned him. If that had happened, Robben would have been cautioned or even sent off."

The Costa Ricans started the tournament as long, long shots but showed by advancing on top of a group containing former champions Italy, Uruguay and England that they're a dangerous proposition for any teams in Brazil.

Greece sealed its place in the knockout stages with a late penalty winner against Ivory Coast, scoring two goals and conceding four in the group stage.

With temperatures hitting 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) and in 68 percent humidity, FIFA instituted cooling breaks 30 minutes into each half in Fortaleza so players could rehydrate.

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal used the second-half break to make a tactical change, switching from a 5-3-2 system to a more traditional Dutch 4-4-3, bringing Huntelaar in to replace the tiring Robin van Persie.

"Yes, we escaped," Van Gaal said. "But we showed that we could create more chances with 4-3-3, and the players handled this shift very well."

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Soccer, International soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Arjen Robben, Guillermo Ochoa, Wesley Sneijder, Giovani Dos Santos, Rafael Marquez, Miguel Herrera, Robin Van Persie, Brazil, South America, Latin America and Caribbean

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


World Cup: Costa Rica vs. Greece in an unlikely knockout round match

The weirdness of this World Cup can be summed up in a sentence: Little old Costa Rica, which won the Group of Tradition with three ex-champions (Uruguay, Italy, England), faces a team (Greece) that just won its second Cup game ever.


Hoping to avoid Greek tragedies

Hoping to avoid Greek tragediesOtago Daily TimesThings keep going wrong. It all started when flying from Moscow to Athens on an aircraft whose passengers were myself, sundry odds and sods, and the entire crew and cast of the Greek National Theatre. They'd been performing a 2000-year-old play ...


Holland v Mexico: World Cup 2014 as it happened!

Holland snatched victory after late goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Pictures: the best images from the Estádio CastelãoFirst official 'cooling break' taken at World Cup

7.01pm BST

Well, well, on march the Dutch and on marches this glorious World Cup with more ups and downs than a rollercoaster. They looked like they would be down and out once that Dos Santos strike hit the back of the net but in fact it shocked them into life. They were the better team from then on and Robben's running proved decisive once more. They take on either Greece or Costa Rica in the quarter-finals. Thanks for all the emails, tweets and opinions. Bye!

6.57pm BST

Football, bloody hell!

6.56pm BST

90 + 5 mins Márquez and Guardado were both given yellow cards during all the going-ons around the penalty decision. Not that they will matter.

6.55pm BST

90 + 4 mins We all saw that coming, right?

6.53pm BST

He does not miss, tucking the ball in the bottom left corner. That was very calm and very composed unlike his celebration (see below).

6.52pm BST

90 + 2 mins Huntelaar and Robben combine on the right. The latter weaves his way into the box before being taken down by a lazy tackle from Márquez, who lands his hoof on the Dutchman's foot. Definitely a penalty.

6.50pm BST

90 mins There will be six more minutes and surely extra-time after that.

6.49pm BST

Holland got their 10th corner of the game. Robben fired it to the back stick. Huntelaar headed it down for Sneijder and from about 16 yards out he rifled the ball in the bottom corner of the net.

6.47pm BST

Heartbreak for Mexico! Hope for Holland!

6.46pm BST

84 mins Kuyt wins a corner on the right. Robben takes and aims it in the general direction of Vlaar. Aguilar clears it but it doesn't go far. It is fired right back in the box and onto the toe of Huntelaar. He looks to hook it into the goal but Ochoa races off his line to stop him in his tracks. It was a superb save but even if Huntelaar had scored, it wouldn't have counted. He was offside.

6.43pm BST

82 mins Rodríguez holds off Robben and somehow the referee deems this a foul and awards Holland a free-kick. They needed that. Mexico had dominated possession since the restart and Holland could not get a kick of it.

6.41pm BST

81 mins "Dirk Kuyt is Status Quo" says Matt Dony. "You know exactly what you're going to get, but he just keeps going, even as the world he inhabits changes beyond all recognition. Endearingly popular, even though most would never admit it. The anti-hipster footballer."

6.40pm BST

79 mins And we are back with a decent effort from Salcido. He bundles his way past a few Dutch defenders and on the edge of the box, he hits an effort just wide of Cillessen's goal.

6.38pm BST

78 mins We are back.

6.38pm BST

77 mins More on Kuyt.

@ianmccourt Dirk Kuyt is Yoko Ono. Joined previously successful combo and is still around, misunderstood, but seemingly indestructible.

6.37pm BST

76 mins We have our second water break and we have had some subs. Van Persie is replaced by Huntelaar and Hernández comes on for Peralta.

6.36pm BST

74 mins Kuyt launches a long ball over the top for Robben to run on to. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't get to it. But he soon has a chance to make up for that. He gets the ball at his feet and off he zooms. Within seconds he is the Mexican box, evading a challenge from Márquez and firing at Ochoa's near post. The keeper does well to save it and Holland have a corner. Vlaar heads that over.

6.32pm BST

72 mins "Kuyt's more of a Kasabian," says my colleague Dan Lucas. "Ostensibly talentless, as grey and ugly as they come, yet here with 100 caps/a million album sales and stealing the headline slot on the biggest stage of all. Has there ever been a more inexplicably successful act?"

6.31pm BST

70 mins Aguilar gets industrial on Memphis and gets a yellow card as his reward. That means he will miss the next game should Mexico progress.

6.29pm BST

68 mins The referee has pointed for a goalkick but he was almost pointing to the penalty spot. Had he done so, it would have been a real shame. Let me explain why. Robben had the ball wide on the right. He skipped his way into the Mexico box and then stumbled (i.e threw himself) over the leg of Layún and onto the ground. Robben should have been booked for that.

6.27pm BST

67 mins "If Dirk Kuyt were indeed Prince," says Douglas Davies, "he'd fire all his teammates, play every position himself with the help of 10 studio overdubs, and change his name to an unpronounceable symbol."

6.26pm BST

65 mins Some housekeeping. A moment or two ago, Dos Santos was swapped for Aquino.

6.25pm BST

64 mins Another corner to Holland. (It's been all Holland since that goal.) It comes in, it goes out. The second ball drops to Blind once more. His effort is wide once more.

6.23pm BST

62 mins "Dirk Kuyt is surely Nickelback" says James Gerard. "Ostentatiously earnest but low on talent, horrible to watch, and pretty horrible to listen to as well."

6.22pm BST

61 mins Meanwhile, this is more like it from Holland. They break with speed on the counter via Robben. He makes it to the edge of the box where he slips the ball to Sneijder whose effort on goal is deflected for a corner. Herrera flicks it away.

6.21pm BST

60 mins Apparently, some fan has put his house up for sale in an effort to raise some dosh to keep Ochoa at Ajaccio.

6.18pm BST

58 mins Reyes puts an Martins Indi cross out for a corner. Robben swings it in and it lands at the feet from De Vrij. From a few yards out it should be a goal but Ochoa, the hero against Brazil, pulls off a magnificent reaction save tipping the ball onto the post and keeping his side in the lead.

6.16pm BST

56 mins On comes Memphis. Off goes Verhaegh.

6.14pm BST

54 mins Corner to Holland. Robben takes it. Peralta deals with it. He aims a second one to the near post. It is shown the door of the box but lands at the feet of Blind. His speculative effort goes wide.

6.13pm BST

53 mins ""Cooling breaks" will mean an additional 10-12 min. of ads per game," maths Jeff B. "The American networks finally get what they always wanted and FIFA gets more money to "support football globally". Genius." Sneijder, meanwhile, has lashed a free-kick into a Mexican wall.

6.11pm BST

51 mins That was superb technique from Dos Santos and given how listless the Dutch have been in this match, they are going to find it hard to get back into this game.

6.10pm BST

There have been some great goals in this World Cup and this is one of them. A long ball is lumped up from Aguilar. It hits the head of Vlaar and Dos Santos takes it down on his chest. He then shows his strength and holds off Blind and a couple of orange-clad players before blasting the ball past Cillessen with a half-volley from distance.

6.08pm BST

No more than they deserved.

6.08pm BST

48 mins Mexico attack down the left. Reyes and Peralta combine on the edge of the box but the Dutch manage to bundle it clear.

6.06pm BST

46 mins Weather report: the highest temperature at pitch side during the first half was 38 degrees! And it is getting hotter we are told. This does not bode well for the Dutch who really suffered under the sun in the first half.

6.05pm BST

45 mins We are back. One sub to tell you about. Reyes on for the injured Moreno.

5.57pm BST

And more Dirk Kuyt analogies. This time from Mike Wilner:

Dirk Kuyt as James Brown? No thanks. How about Dirk Kuyt as Prince. Undeniably talented, not particularly appreciated, and nowhere near as popular with the public as he thinks he is.

5.55pm BST

The water break thing has really raised a stink. Here's the thoughts of Tanay Padhi.

Did FIFA forget to sell the sponsorship rights to the cooling break? How come it isn't "The Official FIFA World Cup in Brazil cooling break brought to you by Gatorade?" Opportunity missed.

5.50pm BST

Nothing more to report here folks, except that Moreno injured himself taking down Robben and had to be carried off on a stretcher. Back in a few minutes.

5.49pm BST

45 + 2 mins Mexico tiki-taka their way around the Dutch half and then in their own half. It is there that Márquez makes what could have been a massive mistake. He misses a pass and allows it to go to Van Persie. The Dutch striker breaks forward and sees Robben on his left and Van Persie looks to curl the ball around the defence and into the path of his team-mate. Robben gets to the ball but is almost immediately taken right out of it by Márquez and Moreno. That should have been a penalty.

5.45pm BST

45 mins There will be four minutes of added time. A lot of Dutch players look exhausted already.

5.44pm BST

43 mins Martins Indi gives Dos Santos a kicking when he is down. Instead of lamping one in, Mexico play the free-kick short. The Dutch soon clear the danger.

5.42pm BST

41 mins Rodríguez diverts away a ball that Van Persie was about to shoot home. Corner to Holland. They play it short to Robben who then plays it long to the back post. Too long, in fact. The ball goes out for a goalkick.

5.40pm BST

39 mins Guardado holds off the challenge of Wijnaldum and pokes the ball down the right wing for Aguilar to run on to. Kuyt is with him all the way, however, and a potentially dangerous break goes out for goalkick.

5.38pm BST

37 mins Speaking of Layún. He has just broke down the left wing once more and once more done so with ease. His chip to the back post has a touch too much loft and there is nothing the Mexican attackers can do with it.

5.36pm BST

36 mins "Leftist? You like Layún?" honks Marten Walters.

5.35pm BST

35 mins We are back.

5.34pm BST

34 mins Holland and Van Gaal will be glad of that. It gives them a break from the Mexican pressure and allows them to regroup. They have been poor so far.

5.32pm BST

32 mins The Dutch enjoy a rare spell of possession, knocking it from side to side in the Mexico half without looking dangerous. Mexico force them back and back and eventually Holland lose possession. The referee then does the time out thing with hands and we have the first OFFICIAL water break of the World Cup! This is history we are witnessing people. History!

5.30pm BST

30 mins "Guardian was, is and will always be full of Leftists," says an email that has just been plonked in my inbox. Not sure what is has to do with the match. Do you? Answers please to the usual address.

5.28pm BST

28 mins And just as I type all that, a long ball into the box finds Van Persie. This could be it. Actually, no it can't. The Manchester United striker takes it down but fails to get the ball to fall into his stride and he balloons his effort well wide.

5.27pm BST

26 mins Mexico have been the far better side so far. They are pulling Holland apart, stretching the play from side to side and generally looking a lot more dangerous than the Dutch. Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder who has not been great throughout this tournament have not had a sniff.

5.25pm BST

24 mins The corner lands in the middle of the box and is directed out of play by Van Persie's head. The referee, however, fails to spot this and Holland have possession again.

5.24pm BST

23 mins Mexico get out their tools and do some building outside the Holland box. It ends with a decent strike from Salcido that forces Cillessen into giving away a corner.

5.22pm BST

20 mins Mexico have just had a corner, their first of the game. Nada came of it, except for a kick in the face for Herrera from Vlaar and/or Verhaegh. (Just saw a replay of this incident: probably should have been a penalty.)

5.20pm BST

17 mins And that should have been the first goal of the match. A short diagonal ball is fired with pace to the back post. Once there, it is taken it down by Dos Santos who knocks it back Peralta. He dallied but eventually got the ball to Herrera. It gets tangled under his feet but Herrera manages to get a shot away. He watches in agony as it dribbles inches past the wrong side of the post.

5.16pm BST

15 mins Some pictures to keep you amused for a minute or two.

5.15pm BST

13 mins Layún, who has been Mexico's best player so far, not just in this match but possibility also in the entire World Cup, gets the ball wide on the left. He goes one on one with Verhaegh and wins the contest easily, knocking the ball around him and running on to it. Once reunited with the spherical object, he lashes it across the box in a most dangerous manner but no Mexican player can get their baby toe on it.

5.11pm BST

11 mins "Dirk Kuyt should be compared with James Brown, as he is the hardest working man in football," reckons Marie Meyer. "Delighted to see him on the pitch. But it hasn't been much of a World Cup for Kop Idols present and past, so I fear there is a ballooning over the bar from 6 yards in his future."

5.10pm BST

10 mins That's a big loss for Holland.

5.10pm BST

9 mins What the Hell? De Jong has just gone off and been replaced by Martins Indi. No explanation has been given. He certainly did not look injured and he certainly didn't look happy.

De Jong forced off, Martins indi comes in. Blind will switch to midfield.

5.08pm BST

8 mins Moreno I think sets Aguilar through on goal but Cillessen is quick of his line and gets to the ball first. That should be that but he makes an absolute hash of his clearance, slicing it like a butcher with a big piece of meat. Luckily for him, it lands at the feet of one of his defenders.

5.06pm BST

6 mins It really does.

This Holland v Mexico game has a USA'94 hue to it.

5.05pm BST

5 mins Mexico get their attack on again and again its via Layún. He cuts inside form the left and shapes to shoot. His effort goes well wide of Cillessen's post.

5.03pm BST

3mins Van Persie gets the ball at his feet once again. This time, however, he is further inside the Mexican half. He looks to dissect the Mexican defence and put Robben through on goal but the pass is just a touch overhit and Ochoa boots it clear.

5.02pm BST

2 mins Holland get an early taste of possession. Van Persie picks the ball up inside the centre circle and spreads the ball out to Kuyt the crowd, mostly Mexican, booo the hell out of him. Nothing more to report so far except for Layún belting one over the bar from 30 yards.

5.00pm BST

1 min Here we go! Holland are in their brilliant orange. Mexico are in their excellent green. The Mexicans get us going. They start doing the right, left thing.

4.57pm BST

Right. All the chat is done and the players are on the pitch. The sun is shining hard. The sweat is already rolling down the brows of the players. The anthems are yoddled by either side and with a brisk shake of the hands, off they go to line up in their respective formations. Incidentally, if we are judging this game on who sings the anthem better and if there is one thing we have learned from this World Cup it is that teams who sing louder always win then Mexico will be chirpy come full time.

4.52pm BST

Martin O'Neill has just compared himself to Louis van Gaal. Can you tell him?

4.49pm BST

It's 29 degrees and the humidity stands at 68% in the Estádio Castelão. All that means there will be designated water breaks somewhere around the 30-minute mark. Meanwhile, Peter Crosby has been in touch. "Congrats on his 100th cap, but when he first got my attention, Dirk Kuyt was a prolific striker. He moved to Liverpool where he became a work horse Milner-esque winger. Now he's right back? Is this the Bob Dylan of footballers always reinventing himself to stay relevant?" Not sure how Dylan would feel about being compared to Mr Kuyt. Always saw him as more of a Coldplay. Steady, boring, the know-what-you-are-getting-type.

4.38pm BST

Some tactics talk for you to pass of as your own knowledge.

Have only seen Salcido in central midfield a couple of times. Not convinced. Vazquez is a big loss

4.27pm BST

Has there ever been a better goalkeeper jersey than this?

4.22pm BST

And some pre-match video, just to spice things up a little. Variety and all that jazz.

4.15pm BST

And just to show that we are not biased, here's some Mexico-based pre-match reading for you. This time it is from the fingers of Sid Lowe who says that Miguel Herrera refused to pick European-based players for the World Cup play-off win over New Zealand but Gio Dos Santos forced his way in and now even Mexicos president is entranced.

Mexicos president Enrique Peña Nieto put on his green tie and gathered his cabinet at Los Pinos, the official residence. It was the countrys first game of the World Cup against Cameroon and he had just flown in from Spain, hurrying back to ensure he did not miss this moment. It did not take long for them to leap into the air and it did not take them long to sink back into their seats, either. Giovani dos Santos scored the first after 11 minutes but it was wrongly disallowed. Then Dos Santos scored again 18 minutes later but that was wrongly disallowed too.

Eventually, Mexico deservedly got one that did count. Oribe Peralta scored on the hour and a photograph of the celebrating cabinet was published soon after. Thats how you play! I believe! Peña Nieto wrote.A draw with Brazil, thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Memo Ochoa, and an impressive 3-1 victory over Croatia then put the presidents men into the last 16 against Holland. They have reached this stage at every World Cup for 20 years, but never gone further. Their opponents are favourites but there is optimism that this time they might.

4.06pm BST

Some pre-match reading for you. And it comes from the fingers of Ben Lyttleton who says that Dutch once missed five spot-kicks in a Euro 2000 semi-final against Italy and even Johan Cruyff didnt fancy taking them. Wnjoy.

England may be out of the World Cup but there is one other team that fears the penalty shootout almost as much as Roy Hodgsons side.

Holland are one of the tournament favourites after blitzing reigning champions Spain 5-1 and beating Chile 2-0 but they will not want to take Sundays last-16 match against Mexico to a shootout. The reason? Holland have won just one of their five tournament shootouts, a win percentage of 20%. Only England, with their win percentage of 14% ( one win in seven), have a worse record from 12 yards.

3.54pm BST

Holland: Cillessen, Verhaegh, Kuyt, Vlaar, De Vrij, Blind, De Jong, Wijnaldum, Sneijder. Van Persie, Robben. Subs: Vorm, Krul, Martins Indi, Janmaat, De Guzman, Veltman, Kongolo, Clasie, Lens, Fer, Huntelaar, Memphis.

Mexico: Ochoa, Rodríguez, Salcido, Márquez, Herrera, Layún, Dos Santos, Moreno, Guardado, Peralta, Aguilar. Subs: Corona, Talavera, Reyes, Fabián, Jiménez, Pulido, Hernández, Ponce, Brizuela, Aquino, Peña, Vázquez.

Netherlands vs Mexico: Team Lineups #NEDvsMEX

3.30pm BST

Clarence Seedorf has the ball at his feet. He looks up, sees the space and sets Edgar Davids free on the left. With one touch he finds Patrick Kluivert, with another Kluivert finds the back of the Irish net. One minute from time, Ireland are opened up again. Outside of the box, Kluivert controls the ball with the outside of his boot. Inside the Irish box, he flicks it over Alan Kelly. Holland had made Euro 1996. Before football came home, the Dutch were installed as favourites to take the trophy home. And with good reason. Ajax had won the Champions League in 1995 with 9 Dutch players in the team and lost on penalties in the next season. Combine that with the emergence of talents like of Kluivert, Seedorf and Davids with the experience of Dennis Bergkamp, as well as, others and you see the bookies had a point. It didn't quite work out however.Just 26 minutes into their second game, a 2-0 win over Switzerland, Guus Hiddink subbed an already yellow-carded Seedorf, to save him from himself. He sat on the bench, smoke coming out of his ears, like a cartoon character who has eaten too much chilli. "Hiddink should stop sticking his head up other players' arses," opined Davids to one foreign journalist afterwards. In private, Davids refused to apology. Hiddink told him to do one and called a team meeting. Aware of tension in the squad, he told the players to sort themselves out and left the room. A row over money, respect, and race erupted. It made Mount Etna sound like a field mouse. Jordi Cryuff halted the poisonous lava and though the argument was not resolved, the players agreed to work together. But the spirit was shot and Holland said their goodbyes after a hammering at the hands of England."When the trouble really broke out," said a previously positive Bergkamp, "I knew right away that we had no hope of winning." No hope of winning. That very same sentence could have been applied to the Dutch before the tournament in Brazil broke out. In fact, forget could have. It was. When Valentijn Driessen, the Guardian's network expert on Holland, was asked what is the realistic aim for your team at the World Cup (italics added), he replied: "the second round." He wasn't the only one. Peter McVitie, writing for the excellent, summed up the public opinion like this:

Heading into the tournament in Brazil, no one, especially the Dutch fans and media, gave them a chance. Getting out of the group stage will be a success, was the general consensus, but even thats difficult.

Continue reading...


The Greek synagogue that's lacking only one thing: Jews

HaaretzThe Greek synagogue that's lacking only one thing: JewsHaaretzThe renovated Etz Hayyim synagogue on the island of Crete is testament to the passions of a man who refused to allow it to become a symbol of Hitler's destruction of the Greek Jews. By Constantine Fraser Jun. 29, 2014 | 7:40 PM ...


No love for Greece

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) – The Greece squad surprised their critics to make the second round of the World Cup and have delighted their people back home left downcast by the financial crisis. They’re not winning many fans in Brazil, though. Greece squeezed ...


Greece players ask for their World Cup bonuses to be put towards training complex

THERE HAVE BEEN plenty of money troubles at this year’s World Cup. The Ghana camp came apart at the seams because of rows over their bonuses while the Cameroon squad was embroiled in a stand-off before boarding a plane to Brazil because of a similar issue.


EU-Montenegro accession conference opens 3 chapters

The fourth meeting of the Accession Conference with Montenegro at the ministerial level was held in Luxembourg on June 24. It opened negotiations on Chapters 4 (Free movement of capital), 31 (Foreign security and defence policy) and 32 (Financial control), the government of Montenegro said in a press release.

In addition, the conference confirmed at a ministerial level the opening of Chapters 7 (Intellectual property law) and 10 (Information society and media), which were considered at the Accession Conference with Montenegro at the Deputy Level, held in Brussels on March 31.

The EU delegation was led by Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The Montenegrin delegation was led by Montenegro’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration Igor Luksic. The European Commission was represented by EU Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Štefan Füle.

With the conference on June 24, out of a total of 35 negotiation chapters, 12 chapters have now been opened for negotiations of which two chapters have already been provisionally closed. Further Accession Conferences will be planned, as appropriate, in order to take the process forward in the second half of 2014. The accession negotiations were launched in June 2012. 

Regarding the opening of negotiations on Chapter 4, 31 and 32, the European Union has closely examined Montenegro’s present state of preparations. Based on the understanding that Montenegro has to continue to make progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis in these chapters, the EU noted that there are benchmarks that need to be met for provisional closure of these chapters.

In addition, the EU underlined that it would devote particular attention to monitoring all specific issues mentioned in its common positions. Monitoring of progress in the alignment with and implementation of the acquis will continue throughout the negotiations. If necessary, the EU will revisit these chapters.


Admirable! Greece players ask for World Cup bonuses to be used to build new training centre

The Greece players have showed just how admirable they are after rejecting their World Cup bonuses – and instead asking for the money to be used to build a new training centre for the team. The squad detailed their request in a signed letter to the ...


Greek bonds beat lottery

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by  Associated Press Netherlands face Mexico in 2nd round of World Cup by CHRIS LEHOURITES, Associated Press - 28 June 2014 21:24-04:00

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Netherlands will put its perfect record on the line in the second round of the World Cup on Sunday, taking on a Mexico side aiming to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since hosting the 1986 tournament.

The Dutch have scored 10 goals in their opening three matches, more than any other team at the tournament. But Mexico has conceded only one, and that was a late consolation goal in the 3-1 win over Croatia.

In the other game, surprising Costa Rica will face Greece in a match between two teams that have never before advanced out of the group stage at a World Cup.

What to watch on Sunday:



The Netherlands has plenty of star power on its team, and several of those stars have plenty of World Cup experience after reaching the final in South Africa four years ago.

With Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben leading the Dutch attack, goals can come quick and easy. But Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has a new worry in Brazil as the team heads north to face the Mexicans in Fortaleza, a coastal city with a tropical climate.

FIFA can call for official cooling breaks to be implemented if the temperature is excessive, but they were only used twice in four matches in the hot and humid Amazonian city of Manaus in the group stage.

Van Gaal is hoping there will be more cooling breaks on Sunday to help his team against a Mexican squad that has been impressive so far, winning two games and holding Brazil to a 0-0 draw.

"Drinks will be along the sidelines if FIFA doesn't take care of it," Van Gaal said.

Mexico is led by coach Miguel Herrera, one of the most entertaining figures of the World Cup. The emotive Herrera wears a suit and a tie on the bench, but he rumbles up and down the sidelines and shakes his arms in the air when his players score.

And score Mexico did against Croatia, with three goals in a 10-minute span from Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

Venue: Fortaleza. Kickoff 1 p.m. local time (noon in New York, 5 p.m. London, 1 a.m. Tokyo)



Costa Rica has been one of the biggest surprises of the World Cup, getting through a group that included four-time champion Italy and always hopeful England to reach the knockout stages for the first time.

The Central Americans will face another team which has never been this far at the World Cup, but Greece does have some experience being an underdog at a major tournament, winning the 2004 European Championship as rank outsiders.

Greece advanced from Group C with a late penalty winner against Ivory Coast. But Costa Rica made its way through Group D as the best among a group of teams loaded with world-class quality, including Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli and England captain Steven Gerrard.

The Costa Ricans opened with a 3-1 win over Uruguay, then beat Italy 1-0 and drew 0-0 with England. Another win on Sunday will see another European team eliminated at the hands of the Central Americans.

Venue: Recife. Kickoff 5 p.m. local time (4 p.m. in New York, 9 p.m. London, 5 a.m. Tokyo)

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, International soccer, Soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Miguel Herrera, Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado, Andrea Pirlo, Steven Gerrard, Brazil, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, Costa Rica, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Western Europe, Europe, Central America

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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American referee Mark Geiger gets 3rd World Cup duty with France-Nigeria in Round of 16

by  Associated Press US referee Geiger to handle France vs Nigeria Associated Press - 28 June 2014 17:20-04:00

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The United States will be represented in two teams in the World Cup Round of 16.

Referee Mark Geiger has been selected by FIFA to handle the France vs. Nigeria match on Monday in Brasilia.

One day later, the U.S. plays Belgium in Salvador in the last of the second-round matches.

It's the third match duty for Geiger, a full-time referee from Beachwood, New Jersey, and his regular assistants, American Sean Hurd and Joe Fletcher of Canada.

Geiger also worked Chile's 2-0 win over Spain and Colombia beating Greece 3-0.

FIFA also picked Sandro Ricci of Brazil to referee Germany vs. Algeria on Monday in Porto Alegre.

Ricci was the first World Cup referee to award a goal using goal-line technology, for France in its 3-0 win over Honduras.

News Topics: Sports, 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup, Men's soccer, Professional soccer, Soccer, International soccer, Events, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Brazil, France, Nigeria, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Western Europe, Europe, West Africa, Africa

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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