Netherlands vs Mexico up next

Netherlands and Costa Rica arguably have the limelight at tonight’s World Cup games.

A handout photo released by the Brazilian Ministry of Tourism shows an aerial view of Castelao stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil, where Netherlands take on Mexico tonight. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Early pace setters the Netherlands will be favourites to advance to the last eight, as they prepare to take on Mexico in the round of 16 fixtures tonight.

Louis van Gaal's men have shown they mean business in this year's World Cup.

They've claimed maximum points in the group games, scoring nine goals, including the 5-1 demolition of world champions Spain.

Heading into the game the Dutch will be boosted by the return of captain Robin van Persie, who's back after serving a one match suspension.

His return will bolster an already free-scoring attack that includes the likes of Arjen Robben and Memphis Depay.

The team are looking to better their second place finish at the 2010 World Cup and on current form, you wouldn't bet against them claiming the big prize on 13 July.

But in their way stands a Mexico side that have shown that they are no pushovers when going up against the big teams.

They looked comfortable as they held host's Brazil to a 0-0 draw in their second group game and with goalkeeper Guillermo 'The Wall' Ochoa single-handedly denying the opposition shots on goal - the Dutch have got their work cut out for them.

The Netherlands defence must also be weary of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, who surprisingly during the World Cup has found himself starting all the games from the bench.

He did however come on to score the crucial goal as the Mexicans beat Croatia 3-1 to qualify for the last 16 and with that sort of threat coming from the bench, El Tri can be confident of causing an upset.

My pick : An extra time 3-2 win for the Netherlands.

The second match of the night lacks the glamour of the Mexico versus Netherlands game, with Costa Rica and Greece clashing in a match that no one could have predicted at the start of the competition.

Costa Rica topped a group made up of Uruguay, Italy and England while Greece made it through following a last minute penalty from Georgios Samaras to deny Ivory Coast a spot in the last 16 and ahead of this one the South Americans can count themselves as favourites to advance to the quarterfinals.

_Ticos _have the exciting front line of Joel Campbell and Bryan Ruiz in their ranks and that front attacking line-up will give the Greece back line various problems with their energetic running and quick counter attacking.

The Greeks are struggling for goals at the moment having only scored two in the entire competition and will be looking at star man Georgios Samaras to give them inspiration as they look to qualify for their first ever World Cup quarterfinals.

My pick: Costa Rica to win 3-1.

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