Netherlands vs Costa Rica World Cup 2014: 'Tim Krul substitution was part of premeditated plan', says Louis van Gaal after late goalkeeper switch

Netherlands manager reveals Tim Krul was brought on because he has 'bigger reach' and is a known 'penalty killer'

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The Independent Football

The Netherlands' manager Louis van Gaal has said the introduction of penalty hero Tim Krul was a premeditated plan and had been discussed well in advance of their shoot-out victory against Costa Rica on Saturday.

Speaking in an interview after the quarter-final tie that saw The Netherlands defeat Costa Rica 4-3 on penalties, Van Gaal said that Krul’s “bigger reach” and reputation as a “penalty killer” was what had motivated his decision.

With the quarter-final match between The Netherlands and Costa Rica all-square and heading towards penalties, The Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal decided to take the unprecedented step of replacing his number one, Jasper Cillessen, with Tim Krul just seconds before the of extra time.

The decision turned out to be an inspired one, with Krul becoming the hero by saving two Costa Rican penalties and helping The Netherlands to secure a semi-final tie against Argentina on Wednesday.


According to van Gaal, this had always been the plan and something he and his coaching team had discussed prior to the match in Salvador.

He said: “We thought it through. Every player has certain skills and qualities and they don’t always coincide. We felt Tim would be the most appropriate keeper to save penalties. You would have seen that Tim dived to the right corner twice. We’re a tiny bit proud this trick has helped us through.”

Van Gaal also revealed that the decision would have come as a surprise to Cillessen as he had not been made aware of the plan prior to the match.

“We said nothing to Jasper because we didn’t want him to know before the game. But as I’ve explained, every keeper has specific qualities. Tim has a longer reach and a better track record with penalties than Cillessen.

“We had discussed it with Tim. He knew about their penalties because he needed to be prepared. It worked out. If it hadn’t, it would have been my mistake.”

Despite Krul’s heroics, van Gaal was adamant that Cillessen would definitely start the next game against Argentina and even singled him out for specific praise.

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

“It was exciting, thrilling. They had their only chance in the 117th minute. We had all the chances but, if Cillessen doesn’t save that, we’re out.”

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