Krul the hero as the Dutch book Argentina showdown

Krul the hero as the Dutch book Argentina showdown
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul celebrates after saving a penalty kick during the penalty shootout after the extra time. AFP

by Bertin Basson

Sunday Jul 06, 2014. 01:06

Tim Krul was the hero as The Netherlands booked their place in the semi-finals with a 4-3 penalty-shootout win over surprise package Costa Rica in a 2014 World Cup encounter at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Saturday.

The game was goalless after extra-time.

Krol, who came off the bench in the final minute of extra-time, saved Bryan Ruiz and Michael Uman's spot-kicks to book a meeting with Argentina, in a repeat of the 1978 final.

Both head coaches stuck to the tried and tested method.

Bruno Martins Indi and Memphis Depay were the only two changes for the Dutch, Martins Indi replaced the injured Nigel de Jong while Depay was rewarded following a couple of impressive displays off the bench.

Costa Rica meanwhile, made one forced change with the suspended Oscar Duarte, who was sent off in the penalty shoot-out win over Greece, replaced by Johnny Acosta.

Chances were few and far between in the opening stanza, with Costa Rica virtually ineffective in attack.

Oranje, who bossed possession, struggled to find a way in behind Los Ticos defensive line and if they did Keylor Navas was up to the task.

The same pattern continued in the second with the Europeans dominating possession and Costa Rica looking to hit the Dutch on the counter.

The Netherlands created a string of chances in the final ten minutes with Wesley Sneijder rattling Navas' crossbar with a curling free-kick from the edge of the area.

Sneijder then picked out Robin Van Persie with a neat chip over the defensive-line in the 88th minute, but the Manchester United marksman unfortunately miss kicked his effort with only the goalkeeper to beat.

It was that type of night for the Netherlands record goalscorer who missed a golden chance to seal the game within normal time with the final attack of the game.

Daley Blind fired in a low cross from the left flank, it was missed by Stefan de Vrij and Dirk Kuyt, but found the Dutch number nine at the far post, his effort from point-blank range hit Yeltsin Tejeda before looping up onto the bar and away to safety.

The Dutch continued to camp within Costa Rica's half during extra-time, with Navas forced into a smart save in the first-half of extra-time to deny Ron Vlaar from a corner-kick.

Marco Urena almost won it in the 117th minute against the run of play, but he saw his venomous effort blocked by Jasper Cillessen.

Sneijder then came within an inch of grabbig the winner two minutes later, but his curling right-footed attempt cannoned off the bar and away from danger.

Louis van Gaal introduced Newcastle United glovesman Tim Krul in stoppage time of extra-time, something that proved to be a masterstroke as he pulled off two penalty stops to secure Hollands first win in extra-time or from a penalty shootout in five attempts.

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