Football

Van Gaal: I banked on Krul's extra wingspan

Van Gaal feels that reserve goalkeeper's extra wingspan will give him the edge in shootout

QUARTER-FINAL

HOLLAND 0

COSTA RICA 0

  • 0-0 after extra time,
  • Brazil win 4-3 on penalties

It's not often you see a coach pull his starting goalkeeper just before a penalty shootout begins, especially when a World Cup semi-final spot was at stake.

But that's exactly what Holland boss Louis van Gaal did this morning (Singapore time) when the 120 minutes were up, replacing Jasper Cillessen with reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Krul, who plays his club football for Newcastle United, had stopped just two of 20 penalties in the Premier League coming into the World Cup.

But he turned out to be the hero for the Oranje, saving two Costa Rica penalties as the Dutch won 4-3.

The 1.93-metre tall Krul is 5.08cm taller than Cillessen, and van Gaal banked on that extra wingspan giving his team the edge, even if Krul was coming in cold.

After the match, van Gaal explained why he sent on Krul for the shootout, including the fact he hadn't told Cillessen.

"There is no question about who will start next game, it will be Cillessen. But we felt Krul was the better choice here," explained van Gaal.

"We told Krul that he would be a possibility for the penalties, but we didn't tell Cillessen, as we didn't want to ruin his preparation.

"We have practised penalties, I believe when you're used to a certain shot you'll be more comfortable taking that shot."

Holland traditionally struggle for unity in major tournaments, but seem a different prospect in Brazil.

"This is the best group I've worked with. In terms of team spirit and togetherness," added van Gaal.

"I thought we had more quality than Costa Rica.

"I thought that with three strikers we could hurt them more."

Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto was proud at his team's contribution to the World Cup.

"We feel happy. There's no sadness," he said.

"My players were admirable. We've proved that we can stand shoulder to shoulder with major nations."

- Wire Services.

World Cup