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Netherlands' Memphis Depay, left, celebrates with teammate Arjen Robben after scoring his side's second goal during the group B World Cup soccer match between the Netherlands and Chile at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014. (Frank Augstein/AP)

Netherlands' Memphis Depay, left, celebrates with teammate Arjen Robben after scoring his side's second goal during the group B World Cup soccer match between the Netherlands and Chile at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Monday, June 23, 2014.

(Frank Augstein/AP)

World Cup daily briefing: June 29 Add to ...

Your daily World Cup tip sheet for who’s playing when, and what to watch for. We'll deliver a new briefing the evening before every game day, setting up the matches and pinpointing the underlying storylines.

Netherlands vs Mexico

Despite leading the Netherlands into the last 16 of the World Cup by playing some rampant soccer at times – most memorably in the 5-1 dismantling of defending champions Spain in the first game – Dutch coach Louis van Gaal is now under fire from the country’s press back home for abandoning the team’s tradition of “Total Football” and playing with five defenders at the back. Considering the turnaround from an abomination of a performance turned in by the Dutch in a 1-0 loss to Spain in the World Cup final four years ago, you would think they’d be happy, but clearly there’s just no pleasing some people. Either way, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and Bayern Munich livewire Arjen Robben are providing most of the firepower for Holland, with three goals each, and Mexico will have its hands full trying to put the brakes on that pair as well as the rest of the highest-scoring team in Brazil. Head coach Miguel Herrera has garnered much of the spotlight for his ostentatious style on the touchline, but he has his team playing well after a dicey qualifying campaign, and El Tri will take heart that it was able to hold host Brazil to a 0-0 draw, with goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa putting on a performance for the ages to keep a clean sheet.

Costa Rica vs Greece

A matchup too improbable to predict before the tournament started, this second-round clash nonetheless features some intriguing storylines. Costa Rica may well be the surprise package of the tournament, emerging as it did on top of a tough group featuring three former world champions, with impressive wins over two of them. Head coach Jorge Luis Pinto has proved an excellent tactician thus far, extracting some fabulous performances from Cristian Gamboa and Junior Diaz on the flanks, while a deep defensive back five has conceded just one goal in the competition. Costa Rica is no stranger to the knockout rounds of the World Cup – it advanced to this stage in the 1990 edition in Italy – but a contest against Greece will prove very different from anything this CONCACAF representative has seen thus far. The Europeans have run the gamut in their opening three games, starting with defeat against Colombia, followed by a backs-to-the-wall effort to earn a point against Japan before last Wednesday’s controversial, last-gasp win over the Ivory Coast to secure qualification. That last game in particular showed the attacking intent that Greece can inject into its game when needs must, but given that the country’s Euro 2004 victory – by some distance the greatest moment in Greek soccer history – was grounded in a solid rearguard action, the temptation to revert to a defence-first strategy will likely prevail here.

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