Netherlands v Costa Rica: Key Battles - Fulham player crucial

Bryan Ruiz

Fulham attacker Bryan Ruiz will be key if Costa Rica are to beat the Netherlands in this World Cup quarter-final clash.

Ron Vlaar vs Joel Campbell

Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar may well be facing Joel Campbell in the forthcoming Premier League season, but he will need to be at his best to stop the Costa Rica striker in Salvador on Saturday. Vlaar has been part of a five-man defence so far, but that is expected to change to four when they face the counter-attacking Costa Ricans. He will need to be aware of the threats the young Arsenal striker can pose.

Campbell plays up fornt on his own for Costa Rica, and the striker looks to use his pace and athleticism to beat his opponents. Vlaar is strong in the air and is an experience defender, but one attribute he doesn't have is pace. If Campbell can isolate the defender, then the Costa Rica forward could exploit that weakness and cause great problems for a Dutch defence that has looked solid so far in this tournament. 

Robin van Persie vs Keylor Navas

Van Persie was substituted after 70 minutes during the last-16 win over Mexico, and the Dutch striker played the poorest match of his tournament so far. However, he is expected to start in this game again and the striker will be desperate to return to his good form.

Costa Rica are missing centre-back Oscar Duarte, who is out due to suspension. This weakens the defence of a Costa Rica side that play five players at the back. Despite that, goalkeeper Keylor Navas has been tested a lot so far this tournament, and his performances have been superb to date. The Levante man will be keen to continue that and frustrate Van Persie and co. in front of goal.

Wesley Sneijder vs Bryan Ruiz

Both Sneijder and Ruiz are experienced players both at club and international levels. The duo look to get themselves on the ball and create chances for the forward-thinking players in their sides. As such, this clash between the two will be vital as to which team dominate possession and create the better chances in the match. Whoever does that will help his respective country to take a big stride towards the World Cup semi-finals. 

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