The Netherlands ended Costa Rica's thrilling run through the 2014 World Cup in a most Krul and unusual way.
With the quarterfinal clash scoreless into its 120th minute and headed for a penalty shootout, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal made a bold substitution that paid off for his side: Reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul came on to replace starter Jasper Cillessen in net. The rangy 6' 3" reserve keeper produced two diving saves to help the Netherlands prevail 4-3 in the penalty shootout at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Saturday. Krul dove to the correct side of his goal for each penalty kick taken by Costa Rica and saved the shots from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to send the Netherlands through to the World Cup semifinals.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 5, 2014
Until Krul's improbable entrance into the game, the goalkeeping star had been Costa Rica's Keylor Navas. He stymied the formidable Dutch attack through extra time but was unable to produce a save during the penalty shootout. Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt all converted their penalty kicks with clinical calm that left little chance for Navas.
"I think we created a lot of chance and we couldn't score," Sneijder told ESPN's John Sutcliffe after the dramatic conclusion. "We were a little bit unlucky. We hit the post. We hit the bar. We had, like I said, a lot of chances. But finally we won. I think tonight we definitely deserved to win. There was our only goal to go to the semifinal and we are there now. We have to recover well because it was a heavy match, a tough match."
The Netherlands will face Argentina in the semifinals on July 9 at Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo.