In the round of 16, Netherlands will be up against Mexico, whereas, Costa Rica will lock horns with Greece today. In an exclusive chat with Aditi Tyagi of Zee Media, former Indian skipper Baichung thinks that Netherlands and Costa Rica should win their respective matches today. He also feels that Robin van Persie`s flying header against Spain is still the best goal of the tournament so far.
Excerpts from the conversation:
What`s your prediction for the first match of today, which is between Netherlands and Mexico?
I think the way Netherlands have played so far in the tournament, they should win against Mexico. Robin van Persie will also available for the match. So, it would be difficult for Mexico to stop Arjen Robben and Persie up front. Both are in the top of their form. Then Wesley Sneijder is there as well.
Would it be a lop-sided affair?
Mexico have impressed many with the way they have played so far in this tournament. And it would be interesting to see Guillermo Ochoa`s strategy against Netherlands, who have scored ten goals so far in the three matches. But on the other side Mexico have good strikers in Giovani dos Santos and Javier Hernandez. In fact, at club level Hernandez plays for Manchester United. So Mexico can give a tough fight to Netherlands but I still feel Netherlands should win this game.
What`s your say on the second match, where Costa Rica and Greece will lock horns with each other?
Greece is very unpredictable team. In 2004, Greece beat Portugal in the final to lift the Euro Cup. Very few people would have thought that Greece would enter the last 16 of this World Cup. So you can`t rule this country out. But I think, Costa Rica who has been playing excellent football should beat Greece in today`s fixture.
What you have to say about the new Colombian star James Rodriguez?
The lad has scored one of the best goals of this World Cup in the last match against Uruguay. The way he scored the goal, even after having four defenders around, made it really a special one. At the moment he is the highest goal scorer of the tournament with five goals under his belt. During the last edition it was Germany`s youngster Thomas Mueller, who made a name for himself and this time around it would be James Rodriguez.
Do you think Rodriguez`s last goal was better than Robin van Persie`s first goal against Spain?
I don`t think so. Persie`s header against Spain is still my favourite goal at this World Cup thus far. What a flying header it was, just amazing. And it should be awarded as the goal of the tournament.