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Netherlands aim to maintain surge against Mexico


By Angus MacSwan

PORTO ALEGRE Brazil (Reuters) – Netherlands, who along with Colombia have lit up the World Cup in Brazil, face a tough test of their tournament credentials when they take on Mexico in the last 16 in Fortaleza on Sunday.

Surprise Group D winners Costa Rica meet Greece in Recife in the day’s second match with the winners moving on to play the Dutch or Mexico.

Finalists in 1974, 1978 and 2010 but never champions, Netherlands powered their way to three wins in the group stage, with strikers Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben in outstanding form.

Mexico, however, have proved doughty fighters. They were unbeaten in their group games, including holding hosts Brazil to a draw. In Guillermo Ochoa, they have arguably the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

Costa Rica are brimming with confidence after topping a group that included three former world champions – Italy, Uruguay and England. They have yet to concede a goal in open play – a penalty against Uruguay being the only score against them.

A dogged Greece side will be playing in the last 16 for the first time. They started badly with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Colombia but secured qualification when a last-minute penalty gave them a victory over Ivory Coast.

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