World Cup Player of the Day: Krul plays Dutch saviour
Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul made a dramatic entrance off the bench to save two penalties in a shootout win over Costa Rica on Saturday following a 0-0 draw after extra time, sending the Dutch into a World Cup semi-final with Argentina.
Heavy favourites for the clash, the Dutch dominated but were frustrated by the woodwork and a string of fine stops from Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas before Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal sent on Krul late in extra time for the shootout.
It was an inspired move as Krul plunged to his left to keep out two Costa Rican kicks while Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt held their nerve to score from the spot and give the Dutch a 4-3 shootout win.
The Netherlands, who have reached the final three times but never won the World Cup, will play Argentina in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
Hosts Brazil play Germany in the other semi-final.
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Image: Goalkeeper Tim Krul of the Netherlands celebrates after making a save on a penalty kick by Michael Umana of Costa Rica
Photographs: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
'We found among the keepers that Tim Krul was the best to save penalties'
"You sit on the edge and think it might go to extra time and penalties and you have to take the team from the quarter-finals to the semis," Krul said.
"It's a dream, it's unbelievable."
Krul had reportedly been working specifically on saving penalties for seven weeks with Dutch coaches and he looked confident from the moment he arrived on the pitch.
With both sides scoring their first kicks, Costa Rica captain Ruiz saw his low effort tipped wide by the towering stopper, who then produced another save in the same spot to thwart Umana with Costa Rica's fifth spotkick.
"We found among the keepers that Tim Krul was the best to save penalties because he has a longer reach," Van Gaal said.
"We studied their penalties and you can see that Krul picked the right corners. I’m really proud that the work paid off."
Image: Goalkeeper Tim Krul of the Netherlands enters the game for Jasper Cillessen
Photographs: Michael Steele/Getty Images