Netherlands secured their spot in the final four at the FIFA World Cup™ following a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over the resistant Costa Rica at the Arena Fonte Nova on Saturday. Both teams played it safe inside the opening minutes trying to get to know their opponents before having a go at them. The Oranje settled in well with their passing on point and almost found a breakthrough in the 21st minute but Keylor Navas made two saves to deny Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder.
Navas was again in the thick of things in the 38th minute denying Sneidjer with a one handed save. Louis Van Gaal’s men pushed forward more often only to give away fouls instead of scoring as the match reached the break with the sides deadlocked at 0-0 with Los Ticos not having found their rhythm.
The frustrated Dutchmen continued to bully their opponents early in the second stanza but nothing came of it. The Costa Ricans were awarded a free kick in the 60th minute setting up what could have been their best chance at goal of the match however Cristian Bolanos dragged it wide. Both sides were still in it twenty minutes before the final whistle despite the Oranje being the better of the two.
Arjen Robben was brought down inches away from the box in the 88th minute. Sneidjer took the free kick and struck it against the post. Van Gaal’s side did just about everything right to win it late but saw their attempt being cleared off the line as the match went to extra time. Neither side managed to get a winner in the additional 30 minutes. The Netherlands then rewrote the history books as substitute Tim Krul made magnificent saves for the Dutch to win 4-3 and set up a date with Argentina. The Newcastle United goalkeeper was sent on as a 120th minute substitute for Jasper Cillessen as Van Gaal believed Krul’s penalty-saving abilities would win the day and the soon-to-be Manchester United boss’ decision proved to be a stroke of genius.