Super-sub Krul saves two penalties on short debut
Krul baffled that he was called upon for shootout when he has saved just two of 20 penalties he has faced
COSTA RICA 0
- 0-0 after extra time, Holland win 4-3 on penalties
Holland goalkeeper Tim Krul made the shortest and most spectacular of World Cup debuts this morning (Singapore time), coming on seconds before the end of the quarter-final against Costa Rica to save two penalties in a shootout and give the Dutch victory.
With the clock ticking down at the end of extra time and the match goalless, Dutch coach Louis van Gaal sent Krul, 26, on as a replacement for first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen.
It proved a shrewd move, as the towering Krul saved spot-kicks from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to hand the Dutch a 4-3 victory and a place in the semi-finals against Argentina on Thursday morning.
"That is not normal," Krul said. "You sit the whole match on the bench and then you have to go in and save the penalties. I don't know what I can say."
Krul plays his club football at English Premier League side Newcastle United, where he is not known as a penalty specialist.
He has saved just two of the 20 he has faced.
"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," he added. "It's a dream, it's unbelievable."
It was another masterstroke from Manchester United-bound manager van Gaal who, despite his ingenuity, was unable to engineer a breakthrough in normal and extra time.
Costa Rica rarely threatened and appeared content to play for penalties, their strong suit after goalkeeper Keylor Navas kept out Greece in a shootout in the last 16.
But their bluff was called and, after Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt all buried their kicks, the outstretched Krul denied Umana to seal the win.
The thrilling shootout came after a match in which goalkeeping also featured strongly - the Dutch hit the woodwork three times and were repeatedly denied by Navas.
Their first chance came when Kuyt squared it to Memphis Depay, who found van Persie in the area but had his close-range shot well blocked by Navas.
The goalkeeper then spared Ruiz's blushes, after his captain gave the ball away on the halfway line, when he stopped smartly from Depay.
Robben's frank admission to diving dominated the build-up, but Uzbek referee Ravshan Irmatov had no delay in awarding free-kicks when he went down twice in quick succession.
And Sneijder nearly buried the second when he curled it past the wall, only for his goal-bound shot to be denied by Navas's fabulous flying, one-handed save.
The Levante goalkeeper was again on his toes when he came out quickly to dive on Robben's through-ball, just ahead of the on-rushing van Persie.
Holland were starting to carve Costa Rica open but, despite 63 per cent of possession in the opening half, they went into the break goalless.
Costa Rica hadn't had a shot on target but they had a chance on the hour when Junior Diaz surged and found Campbell, who went sprawling but had his penalty claim denied.
Van Gaal threw on Jeremain Lens for Depay in a bid to avoid extra time, and Sneijder nearly broke the deadlock when he hammered a free-kick against the near post.
Navas again denied van Persie from close range and, with two minutes remaining, the sharpshooter appeared to have it won when Sneijder floated a ball over the defence.
But van Persie, scorer of a magnificent diving header in the Dutch win against Spain, embarrassingly swung and missed with his favoured left foot with the goal at his mercy.
In injury time, the Dutch appeared cursed as Daley Blind's ball ran across the face, missing a forest of outstretched legs, and van Persie's shot was deflected onto the bar.
Extra time began for the sixth time this World Cup and Navas rescued Costa Rica again when he turned away Ron Vlaar's header, before needing treatment after a clash with Kuyt.
With penalties looming, Urena threatened to snatch it for Costa Rica when he broke clear, but he was denied by goalkeeper Cillessen.
And, almost immediately at the other end, Sneijder hit the woodwork for the second time when he smashed a curling shot off the crossbar.
Van Gaal withdrew Cillessen for the 1.93-metre tall Krul exactly on 120 minutes for the penalty shootout.
And his judgment looked impeccable when Krul saved Costa Rica's second kick, struck by Ruiz, and then palmed away Umana's low and one-handed before racing away in triumph.
- Wire Services.
Every keeper has specific qualities and we felt he had a better reach and a better track record to stop penalties. We’d discussed it with Tim — how Costa Rica would shoot their penalties, their sequence. So he was prepared.
- Holland coach Louis van Gaal, on Tim Krul with Dirk Kuyt