SALVADOR (SportingAlert) — Tim Krul made two big-time saves in the penalty shootout and made Louis van Gaal look like a genius as the Netherlands matched into the World Cup semi-finals.
Holland booked their last four place in dramatic fashion after beating Costa Rica in a shootout, following teams’ failure to score a goal in opening play.
The two teams were deadlock at 0-0 after 120 minutes of action in their World Cup quarter-finals, and the deciding result had to be settled via the dreadful penalty shootout.
In the end, the Netherlands earned their place into the semis and setup a date with Lionel Messi and Argentina on Wednesday evening, with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory.
Newcastle shot-stopper Krul, who came on in the last seconds of extra-time during overtime play, saved two penalty kicks, much to the delight of his boss Van Gaal and fellow Holland teammates.
Krul said: “This is what you work for for seven weeks. Now you can see, you have to do this with all 23 men. We had looked at them, but we didn’t learn anything.
“The power was standing still and then going in. Me and goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek worked on it.”
“The sub was terrific, if you see something like that, it deserves credit,” Dutch captain Robin van Persie, who converted his spot kick said. “We know Tim Krul is great at stopping pens.”
Earlier, Holland failed to put away any other their many chances to win the game, with Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas coming up with a number of outstanding saves to keep his team in the contest.
At the other end, Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was also forced into making some big-time saves, including one right at the death, to save his team from being upset by the CONCACAF side.
Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder twice hit the post when Navas looked well beaten during open play.
The Netherlands will now face Argentina in the second semi-final at the World Cup after Gonzalo Higuain scored the only goal in his team’s 1-0 win over Belgium at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha.
Victory sees Argentina making it to the last four for the first time since 1990 when they finished runners-up and Diego Maradona was the star man.