|Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who was brilliant in the first half against the Netherlands, in Salvador, on Saturday. (AFP)
Salvador: The Netherlands looked the more likely team to score, but were unable to break the resistance of underdogs Costa Rica, during a goalless first half of their World Cup quarter final, on Saturday.
Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the sides on level terms including one from Robin van Persie after 21 minutes, another from Memphis Depay and a third from a Wesley Sneijder free-kick.
Navas’s good work earned him appreciation from the legendary Peter Shilton, who was one of the panellists during a half-time discussion of the broadcasting channel.
The save off Sneijder’s free-kick stood out. In the 38th minute, Arjen Robben provided a dummy, allowing Sneijder to curl a gorgeous effort towards the top left. It appeared to be going in, but Navas extended himself at full stretch to tip the ball acrobatically round the post. It was a great attempt and a great save.
Costa Rica too had a few chances. In the 35th minute, they got a free kick down the inside right. The ball was looped to Celso Borges at the left-hand post and he nearly managed to put it in. However, the Dutch defence was alert enough to avert the danger.
Earlier, Netherlands included youthful striker Depay and central defender Bruno Martins Indi in their starting line-up, leaving Costa Rica guessing what system they intended to use at the Fonte Nova arena.
Costa Rica named Johnny Acosta to fill in for suspended Oscar Duarte in the only change from the side that defeated Greece on penalties in the last-16.
Martins Indi returned as one of three centre backs, while Depay was selected ahead of left back Paul Verhaegh in the two changes to the Dutch team after squeezing through against Mexico in the previous round. (Agencies)