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Dutch down Costa Rica on penalty kicks



Published: Sun, July 6, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

SALVADOR, Brazil

Louis van Gaal made the call, and Tim Krul made the saves.

In another move that will only add to his reputation as a tactical mastermind, the Netherlands coach led his team into the World Cup semifinals after bringing on Krul with seconds remaining in extra time.

Moments later, Krul saved two penalties in a 4-3 shootout victory over Costa Rica, making the Manchester United-bound Van Gaal again look like a football genius.

“It worked out,” Van Gaal said Saturday after his team played Costa Rica to a 0-0 draw through extra time. “That was beautiful. I’m a bit proud of that.”

Jasper Cillessen had started in goal for the Dutch team, but Van Gaal made the decision to pull him after 120 minutes of scoreless football and replace him with Krul.

The Newcastle goalkeeper, who really only touched the ball twice all game, saved the second and fifth penalties, and guessed the correct way on all five.

“We thought it all through,” Van Gaal said. “We all thought that Tim Krul was the best keeper to stop penalties. He is taller and has a longer reach. We prepared for the Costa Rica penalties just as we prepared for our own penalties.”

In the semifinals, the Netherlands will face Lionel Messi and his Argentina teammates in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

Although Krul made the decisive stops in the shootout, it was Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas that was the star of the match.

Navas made a string of saves to keep the attacking Dutch scoreless for 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time.

His night, however, will forever be overshadowed by Krul, and by Van Gaal.

“I never saw something like that,” Costa Rica midfielder Celso Borges said of the goalkeeping change. “But they were right, he did his job.”

At the end, however, Navas could not stop any of the four Dutch penalties as veterans Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt all scored.

“Of course you want to stop the penalty,” Navas said. “But they shot better and I could not stop them.”

Navas couldn’t, but Krul could.

“Tim stopped two penalties,” Van Gaal said, “and it doesn’t get better than that.”


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