World Cup Brazil: 'Krulpower' helps The Netherlands to a well-deserved victory against Costa Rica
By Frans van Hees | www.AboutBrasil.com | Week 27, July 2014
Rio de Janeiro — The quarterfinal against
Costa Ricawas a true wear and tear wastage for the
national soccer team of The Netherlands. In the Arena Fonte Nova of Salvador da Bahia, the mediocre but rigid Costa Ricans held the Dutch off from scoring for 120 minutes. Therefore an exciting penalty shoot out was necessary to decide which team would go through to the semi-final of World Cup Soccer 2014 in Brazil, next Wednesday in Sao Paulo, where Argentina awaits.
Louis van Gaal, coach of the Dutch team, had another brilliant idea to enable the Dutch getting their well-deserved victory.
In the final seconds of the extra time he changed goalie Jasper Cillessen for substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul of Newcastle United.
Krul became the Hero of the Day by stopping two penalties; thanks to the successful penalty shootout Van Gaal and his team remain in the race for the world title.
Against Costa Rica Van Gaal finally opted for a more attacking style of soccer play.
Tim Krul, centre of attention when Dutch well-deservedly go through
The much-criticized defensive 1-5-3-2 system was (partially) released. Striker Memphis Depay was now a first team player and winger Dirk Kuyt was playing as offensive right back. Daley Blind moved up into midfield and thus replaced the injured Nigel de Jong.
As in the previous matches The Netherlands was dangerous through counterattacks. In addition, Arjen Robben played an important role again. Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Depay were however careless with some good opportunities. Costa Rica was only playing reactively; soccer only to prevent goals against. The Netherlands were dominating, which was also clearly expressed in percent of possession: 64% to 36%.
Costa Rica was trying to deal with Robben, but needed too many times a foul to stop the star striker of the Dutch team. Uzbek referee Ravsjan Irmatov sometimes forgot to show the yellow card, much to the annoyance of coach Van Gaal. However, the whirlwind attacker was still the most dangerous Dutch player; Van Persie as well as Depay were rather disappointing.
After 75 minutes, when it was still 0-0, Van Gaal took his first measure by replacing Depay for Jeremain Lens. In the last part of the soccer match Sneijder was closest to score the opening goal. His free kick splashed apart on the pole however.
In injury time, Van Persie appeared to offer the Dutch soccer team its well-earned victory. Nevertheless, his effort from close was miraculously saved by a Costa Rican and the crossbar. Keeper Navas was again the stronghold of Costa Rica and after 90 minutes, the Central American soccer team got what it wanted from the start: overtime and thus the chance for a penalty shootout.
The second measure of Van Gaal followed in the second half of the overtime. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, as a substitute he was the hero against Mexico (2-1 win), entered the pitch at the expense of defender Bruno Martins Indi. In the final minutes of the overtime Sneijder again hit the crossbar.
Then, Van Gaal called for his secret weapon. To the surprise of many, goalkeeper Cillessen, who miraculously saved a Costa Rican shot with his knee a few minutes from time, was replaced by
Tim Krul. Later Van Gaal explained that this substitute goalie has "a better trackrecord concerning penalties and has also a longer reach." (and moreover a more imposing posture than parched Cillessen...).
In the history of international soccer, the The Netherlands have a bad reputation at winning penalty shootouts. Nevertheless, this time the Dutch were flawless and super sub Tim Krul stopped the second penalty of Costa Rica, shot by captain Bryan Ruiz.
With one turn to go, the Dutch could finish with a victory, but if Krul would stop the last opportunity of Costa Rica, it would be over even sooner. And so he did: Tim Krul also stopped the fifth penalty of Costa Rica and became the Man of the Match after only being on the pitch for 10 minutes!
Argentina will be awaiting the Dutch in the semifinalsafter winning against Belgium, southern neighbours of The Netherlands, earlier today.
Matches & Standings Final rounds - FIFA World Cup 2014