Netherlands vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Louis van Gaal left 'proud' that Tim Krul gamble paid off, even though Jasper Cillessen had no idea swap would take place

Substitute goalkeeper Krul was introduced a minute before the penalty shootout, going on to make two key saves that won the quarter-final

It was an unusual gamble and Louis van Gaal declared himself both proud and relieved that it came off after his change of goalkeepers earned the Netherlands a penalty shoot-out success over Costa Rica in their World Cup semi-final in Salvador.

With the game goalless entering injury time at the end of extra time, Van Gaal removed Jasper Cillessen and sent on Tim Krul who duly saved spot-kicks from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to secure the Dutch a 4-3 victory on penalties and, with it, a semi-final date with Argentina in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

Van Gaal said: “We found that among the keepers Tim Krul was the best at saving penalties because he has a longer reach and because we’d watched the Costa Rican penalties. So we studied their penalties and you can see that Krul picked the right corners. I’m really proud that the work paid off.”

The future Manchester United manager added that he had not told Cillessen, his first-choice keeper, of the possible substitution because he did not want to “distract him”. Van Gaal added: “Thankfully it worked out because otherwise I’d have made the wrong tactical change.”


Prior to the spot-kicks the Dutch had dominated the game and had 15 shots on goal to their opponents’ three – with Wesley Sneijder (twice) and Robin van Persie both denied by the woodwork and Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas making a string of saves.

Navas’s man-of-the-match performance meant Krul was not the only goalkeeper worthy of praise. The Costa Rica coach Jose Luis Pinto declared himself “proud” of the unfancied Central American side who made history by reaching the quarter-finals on the back of a superb defence. “We played five matches in this World Cup and conceded one goal from the penalty spot and one other goal and this gives us immense pride. It is credit to all the players starting with Keylor who was brilliant in this World Cup.”