World Cup Reaction: Can Costa Rica or Greece book semis berth?

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Anyone who says they thought Costa Rica and Greece would make the second round of the World Cup is either named Russell Grant or Mystic Meg or lying to impress their mates down the pub.

Neither side was fancied ahead of the tournament, with Costa Rica predicted to be the whipping boys of Group D and the Greeks expected to do little more than shut up shop and leave without being embarrassed.

However, both sides are now through after Costa Rica shocked Uruguay and then Italy to ensure qualification and Greece hero Georgios Samaras kept his nerve to slot home an injury-time penalty to put the Ethniki on could nine.

Anyone with the incredible foresight to predict such results is probably already counting their money but with plenty of football left to play it’s not too late to get on the Greek gravy train or the Costa Rican cash cow.

Greece can be backed at 2/1 to beat Costa Rica when they meet on June 29th, while their rivals go into the game as slight favourites at 11/8.

But after going through the group stages without defeat Costa Rica fans will now have lofty expectations and could be tempted by the 11/2 available about their side exiting the competition at the semi-final stage.

Similarly, Greece fans will be riding a wave of confidence after Samaras’ heroics put them into the knock-out phase and the 9/1 on them going all the way to the semis could also prove a shrewd move.

However, with Holland the most likely opponents for whichever side makes it to the quarter-final better value could be had by taking the shorter odds on a last eight exit.

Costa Rica can be backed at 13/10 to leave with their heads held high after a quarter-final loss, while the Greeks can be backed at 7/4 to bow out after just one more game.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.