SALVADOR – Qtr-finl: Holland 0, Costa Rica 0 (4-3 on penalties) after extra time
—- One of the most astonishing substitutions in the history of the World Cup paid semi-final dividends for Holland in the Arena Fonte Nova.
Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal brought on reserve goalkeeper Tim Krul one minute from the end of extra time, specifically for the penalty shootout.
The Newcastle keeper went the right way for all five Costa Rica kicks and, decisively, saved the second the second and the fifth, shot by Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana. Holland’s senior men – Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt converted all their kicks to drive the Dutch into Wednesday’s semi-final date with Argentina in Sao Paulo.
Holland dominated possession but Ticos’ keeper Keylor Navas managed his third shootout of the finals, albeit with a little fortune since Wesley Sneijder hit a free kick against his right-hand post in the second half of normal time and a fierce drive against the bar two minutes from the end of extra time.
In another incredible escape for Costa Rica, during stoppage time at the end of the initial 90 minutes, an angled shot from Van Persie hit Yeltsin Tejeda on the leg and then head on the goal-line before ricocheting up against the bar and to safety.
Navas also pulled off decisive saves at various times throughout the two hours from Van Persie, Sneijder |(twice) and Memphis Depay.
Costa Rica, with resolute and disciplined defensive displays from Jhonny Acosta, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Cristian Gamboa and Tejeda, created little on the counter-attack.
They might have had a penalty on the hour when Bruno Martins Indi pushed Joel Campbell in the back but Uzbek referee Ravshen Irmatov ignored Costa Rica appeals.
After that their lone further dangerous opportunity fell to substitute Marcos Urena. He broke away from the straggling Dutch defenders four minutes from the end of extra time only to be foiled by a superb save from keeper Jasper Cillessen.
The goalkeeper thus kept Holland in the game for the shootout . . . which he had to watch from the touchline.
(Costa Rica first)
Borges 1-0; Van Persie 1-1
Ruiz saved 1-1; Robben 1-2
Gonzalez 2-2; Sneijder 2-3
Bolanos 3-3; Kuyt 3-4