SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal expects Costa Rica to play a similar brand of attacking football as Chile and Mexico used in their unsuccessful attempts to derail the Dutch World Cup campaign.
He expects the same result, too.
Van Gaal wasn't giving away tactics Friday on the eve of his team's quarterfinal clash with the World Cup's biggest surprise package at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova.
But he is unlikely to change a formula that defeated Chile and Mexico — defending solidly and looking to strike on the counterattack. And if that doesn't work, switching to a 4-3-3 formation and pushing forward in search of a goal.
"They play the same system and they try to attack in the same way and they try to exert pressure in the same way, so there are a lot of similarities," Van Gaal said.
Van Gaal added that the quality of the Costa Rica players was "different" to the star-studded Chile lineup, but that does not mean that his team will be taking for granted a team that shocked the tournament by winning a group that also featured three former champions — Italy, England and Uruguay.
"We should not underestimate Costa Rica at all. I think it's going to be a very tough match," injured midfielder Nigel de Jong said. "Costa Rica got here with a lot of passion and belief and, of course, they're playing without pressure so we should not take them lightly."
Even if Costa Rica manages to score first, Van Gaal is confident his resilient team can battle back from a goal deficit as it has three times already in Brazil — against Spain, Australia and Mexico.