SALVADOR, Brazil – With a World Cup quarterfinal in the closing moments of extra time Saturday, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal made a move that was as bold as it was rare.
As penalty kicks loomed in a scoreless match, he replaced his starting goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, with Tim Krul, who had not yet played in the tournament but was confident to the point of haughtiness in a 4-3 victory in the shootout phase.
After growing frustrated against Costa Rica, which seemed mostly content to sit back, surrender possession and play for penalty kicks, the Dutch became assured and clinical. The Netherlands made all of its penalty kicks while the 6-foot-4 Krul made two dramatic saves after appearing to try to intimidate the Costa Ricans.
Some commentators found his animated behavior unsporting, but Krul’s teammates mobbed him and his country celebrated an improbable hero as the Dutch advanced to the semifinals against Argentina on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
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“That is not normal,” Krul, 26, said of spending about 120 minutes on the bench and then entering with the pressure of advancing his team.
“It’s a dream,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
For the first time in five attempts, the Netherlands won a World Cup match that extended beyond regulation.
Costa Rica proved to be a great surprise in this World Cup, surrendering a mere two goals in five matches behind its organized defense and superb goalkeeper, Keylor Navas.
But with the Ticos’ exit, after equally excruciating defeats for the United States and Mexico in the second round, the North American, Central American and Caribbean region was again left without a semifinalist in a drought that extends to 1930.
• Brazil superstar Neymar, whose World Cup is over because of a fractured vertebra suffered in Friday’s victory over Colombia, said his dream of celebrating the title with teammates is still alive.
“I don’t have words to describe what has been going through my head and my heart,” Neymar said in a video. “I just want to say that I will be back as soon as possible. When you least expect, I’ll be back.”
Colombia defender Camilo Zuniga has sent a letter of apology to Neymar.