Player Scouting: Robin van Persie v Costa Rica

Robin van Persie Netherlands

After enduring a tumultuous season with Manchester United, Robin van Persie must be eying World Cup glory along with incoming Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. The Oranje made an extraordinary start to their World Cup campaign with a 5-1 demolition of title holders Spain but since then the three times finalists are blowing hot and cold with scrappy wins against Aussies and Mexico.

Ditto can be said for their captain Robin van Persie, having made an impressive start with a brace against Spain and a crucial strike against Australia, the Red Devils’ forward has had a subdued tournament since then. In aftermath of being substituted in their Round of 16 tie against Mexico, the Dutch hitman was expected to come out all guns blazing in quarterfinal tie against Costa Rica.

He started in his usual position as the lead striker along with Arjen Robben in Van Gaal’s adventurous 5-3-2 formation. Costa Rica who have been this tournament’s surprise package with the help of some stubborn defending and sublime piece of goalkeeping by Keylor Navas.

The game began on the expected lines as Costa Rica sat deep and played on counters with Dutch hogging majority of possession. But it was an anti-climax of sorts for the Dutch captain as chances were far and few.

Robin van Persie - Heat Map - Costa Rica - 5th July 2014 (Credit: Squawka)

Robin van Persie – Heat Map – Costa Rica – 5th July 2014 (Credit: Squawka)

Van Persie could have put game to bed if not for Keylor Navas and company. The game’s as well as the striker’s first real chance came in 21st minute when Depay fed Van Persie whose shot drew a fine save from Costa Rican stopper. Again a fine run by Dutch striker in 38th minute which was spotted by his strike partner Robben came to cropper with Navas reacting pro actively.

The story continued in second half of regular period. It was not until 84th minute when a close range strike from Dutch talisman was parried away by Super Navas. It was almost in the end of regulation time when Van Persie came back into his elements albeit partially. A scrumptious delivery for Wesley Sneijder went unattended as the Dutch captain could not sort his feet, arguably the best chance of the match which went down the drain. A stunning free kick saved and goal line clearance by Tejeda in stoppage time amplified his and Oranje’s agony.

He had a pedestrian extra time with nothing of note. With penalties looming on horizon, the Dutch captain was spared the blushes of being substituted for second match in a row. The decision to keep him on field paid off as he successfully converted his spot kick in the shootout.

Robin van Persie’s tournament may be fizzling out after an explosive start. But count him out at your own risk!

This article was written by Vatsal Dani, who is part of our Academy writing team. Please make your comment on this article if you agree or disagree with the comments raised in this article.

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