The Netherlands beat Costa Rica on penalties (4-3) this Saturday (5 July) at the Fonte Nova Arena's farewell match in the World Cup. Tim Krul, Holand's third-choice goalkeeper, came off the bench to replace Cillessen just before penalties, saved two of them and was the hero of the match.
The Netherlands now face Argentina in the semis. The bout is scheduled for 9 July 5 PM in the Corinthians Arena (São Paulo). The other spot in the final match will come out of Brazil vs. Germany, who clash on July 8 at the same time.
The Dutch entered the pitch with good memories of the group phase: it was in that same Fonte Nova Arena that the Europeans made their gala debut at the World Cup by beating Spain 5-1 on June 13. Costa Rica, in turn, had another weapon: the support of the local crowd, who cheered on the ticos from minute 1.
One of the match's most striking events - and one that would be decisive for its fate - happened near the end of overtime. With the certainty of the 0-0 and the imminent arrival of the shootout, Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal replaced Cillessen with the third-choice goalkeeper, Tim Krul.
The first shot was by the Costa Ricans, with Borges converting. The Netherlands then tied the contest with Van Persie, but Brian Ruiz was not so lucky: Krul dived to save the goal and put the Dutch in position to achieve the lead. Robben shot his on the net and ensured it. Gonzalez shot well, as did Sneijder, keeping the score as was. Bolaños tied the series once more with Costa Rica's fourth shot, but Kuyt gave no chance of defence to Navas, reinstating the Dutch lead. And so it was that Costa Rica had the choice of converting their fifth penalty or going home. But Umaña's shot met with Holland’s off-the-bench hero: Tim Krul dived to the right and sealed the fate of the day for the Netherlands.
Even eliminated, the Costa Ricans received a standing ovation by the crowd at the Fonte Nova. Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas was voted man of the match.