Greece

McNair set for Northern Ireland call up

Manchester United defender Paddy McNair is to be named in the Northern Ireland squad for their forthcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

McNair has been drafted in as a replacement for club team mate Jonny Evans who has withdrew from the squad with an ankle problem.

The 19-year-old has been capped at under 17, 19 and 21 level for his country.

He has played in the last two games for his club side due to an injury crisis in defence.

Northern Ireland face the Faroe Islands at home on Saturday and then a trip to Greece the following Tuesday.

Michael O’Neill’s side won their qualification opener 1-2 in Hungary thanks to two late strikes from Niall McGinn and Kyle Lafferty.

 

The Netherlands 2-1 Mexico

Two late goals from Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar provided Dutch delight as Holland reached the last eight with a 2-1 win over Mexico.

Louis Van Gaal’s exciting side sealed the win deep into added time when Huntelaar converted a penalty won by Arjen Robben. The player of the tournament contender was fouled by Rafael Marquez but with minimal contact. Robben showing the other meaning to his “Flying Dutchman” nickname.

Ex-Tottenham midfielder Giovanni Dos Santos provided the opener for the Mexicans three minutes into the second half with a long distance half volley that gave Jasper Cillessen no chance in the Holland goal.

Sneijder equalized for the Netherlands with an equally impressive half volley, Robben’s corner was headed back by substitute Huntelaar into the path of the Galatasaray play-maker who let the ball bounce before smashing it past Guillermo Ochoa and in with two minutes left on the clock.

On what was ultimately a sad day for Mexico, Goalkeeper Ochoa provided one shining light for El Tri, another superb performance from him to illustrate further his credentials as being named the ‘keeper of this World Cup.

His highlight being when he magnificently kept out a Stefan de Vrij header that he tipped onto the bar and out from point blank range.

It is Holland who go onto the Quarter Finals however and they will meet the victor of Costa Rica and Greece.

 

Colombia 2-1 Ivory Coast: Clinical Colombians cast aside Cote d’Ivorie

Colombia continued their 100% record in the 2014 World Cup with a 2-1 win over Ivory Coast. Goals from James Rodriguez  and Juan Fernando Quintero made Gervinho’s goal in reply only mere consolation.

Tricolor were slow to get out of gear but found full throttle after 64 minutes when Rodriguez headed in from Juan Guillermo Cuadrado’s corner.

Substitute Quintero doubled the lead six minutes later when Colombia accelerated on the counter attack. Teofilo Gutierrez had options left and right and opted right to Quintero who sealed the win.

Gervinho hit back soon after, just three minutes after the game looked dead and buried when he cleverly jinked past two Colombian defenders and then beat David Ospina at his near post.

Party time: Juan Quintero settles the tie and the celebration of the tournament ensues.

Party time: Juan Quintero settles the tie and the celebration of the tournament ensues.

The first half was a cagey affair with the only main chance coming to Gutierrez who spooned a shot wide when he was in space – a poor miss.

Despite increased pressure the Ivory Coast couldn’t find the much needed leveler and now face a crucial match against Greece to decide their fate.

Didier Zokora will miss the game through suspension however as he picked up his second booking in two games.

Colombia meanwhile play Japan knowing just a draw will cement themselves as group winners whatever happens in Japan’s game against Greece later on today.