Netherlands 0, Costa Rica 0 (Netherlands win penalties 4-3)
Late goalkeeper substitution by Louis Van Gaal a masterstroke; Keylor Navas heroics kept Costa Rica in the game
Tim Krul was the Dutch penalty kicks hero as the Netherlands advanced to the World Cup semi finals after the Newcastle United custodian saved two Costa Rica penalties.
Krul had astonishingly replaced the Dutch number one Jasper Cillesen in the final minute of Extra Time and although Cillesen seemed to be devastated at the time he was one of the Dutch players who ran to celebrate with Krul after he had won the game with saves from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana.
It was an amazing gamble for Louis Van Gaal to bring on Krul, who had only saved two penalties in 20 but it paid off for the Dutch manager who will take over at Manchester United after the tournament.
It was a tale of three goalkeepers after Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas had once again defied Dutch pressure throughout two hours the World Cup Quarter Final with another catalogue of saves that won him the Man of the Match award and surely a move to a big European club.
Despite his heroics, Navas ended up on the losing side but it might not have gone to a shootout if Costa Rica were awarded a penalty in an Extra Time period that saw both sides try to up the tempo despite attacks of cramp.
Marco Urena could conceivably have won a spot kick for Costa Rica eight minutes into Extra Time when he seemed to be tripped by Ron Vlaar but it wasn’t given by experienced referee Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan who was in charge of his ninth World Cup game.
Urena could have rounded De Vrij with four minutes to go after Costa Rica tried to go for it at the end but was denied by Cillessen who made the save with Krul waiting to come on for penalties.
It would have been harsh on the Dutch who hit the woodwork twice through efforts by Wesley Sneijder and forced Costa Rica back throughout the game with stunning attacking play by Arjen Robben and Sneijder in particular but were denied by several interventions by Navas and a goal line clearance by Yeltsin Tejeda who cleared Robin Van Persie’s last minute strike off the line and off the front of the crossbar.