The 10 Best Moments From Day 18 of the World Cup

1. Tactical Mastermind Of The Day

Louis van Gaal, as nominated and seconded by Louis van Gaal’s ego.

The Netherlands boss kept faith with his 5-3-2 formation against Mexico despite some key absences which forced him to play Dirk Kuyt at left wing-back, Paul Verhaegh at right wing-back and Edwin van der Sar in the No. 10 role, maybe, but his late tinkering – which included taking off Robin van Persie – ultimately proved crucial against Mexico.

Don’t be surprised to see a return to 4-3-3 in the quarter-final though.

2. Bolt From The Blue Of The Day

There was to be no leisurely start to the second half for Giovani dos Santos and Mexico.


3. Managerial Celebrations Of The Day

Mexico’s Miguel Herrera, who has pretty much got this category locked down.

4. Bored Spectator Of The Day

So Costa Rica v Greece wasn’t great, but when you see who was there you kind of become glad about that, don’t you?


5. Double Penalty Of The Day

Watch in bewilderment as Arjen Robben is kicked first on his right foot and then on his left.

Two wrongs make a right? Well, no. No penalty. He would get one later on though.

6. End Of An Era Of The Day

Well, we’re not quite sure it is, but you’d have to suspect that we’re not going to see Greece’s 37-year-old captain Giorgios Karagounis in his national team’s shirt again following his side’s defeat to Costa Rica in Recife.

One hundred and thirty nine caps (the first of which came in the last century), 10 goals, one Euro 2004 winners’ medal and about 482 fights picked with players who were bigger than him.

It was eventful.

7. Drinks Break Of The Day

There were two! In Netherlands v Mexico! The shattered players all left the pitch around half an hour into both halves to take on some water, as all struggled with the intense heat of Fortaleza and the bizarre decision from FIFA to stage this clash at 1pm local time, when the sun was at its strongest.

Of course FIFA have also taken the equally bizarre decision to take this tournament to Qatar in eight years’ time, so drinks breaks are going to be here to stay.

Expect the novelty value to have gone away by 2022.

8. ‘Giving Them The Eyes’ Of The Day

Costa Rica’s Bryan Ruiz, who absolutely definitely meant to shoot into that corner of the net.



9. Super Sub Of The Day

Step forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who seems to have spent the majority of the last decade sitting on a substitutes’ bench with a bib over his Netherlands kit at major tournaments.

He got to take that bib off with quarter of an hour remaining against Mexico though, emerging from that bench to fire home the 94th minute penalty which took the Dutch through at their brave opponents’ expense.

Huntelaar showed nerves of steel, but he’s likely to head back to the bench for the quarter-final.

10. Player Of The Day

Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas threw himself at absolutely everything in his team’s cause in the clash against Greece, keeping out several efforts in the match as the match went to extra-time and then penalties.

Once there, his fine stop from Theofanis Gekas set the stage for his country to reach the last eight in dramatic fashion.

His side are the best story of this World Cup as they continue to defy the odds, and he is his side’s inspiration.


Who’ll hit the headlines on Day 19? Place your bets now!