Costa Rica's fairytale run in the World Cup is over. North America's last team standing played exactly how everyone thought they would against the Dutch. They defended for their lives all match, and created a few promising attacks against the run of play.
3 - The Netherlands have hit the woodwork 3 times, no team has hit the woodwork 3 times in 1 WC match without scoring (1966-2014). Unlucky.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 5, 2014
12 - #NED have been caught offside more often than any other team in a single game in this tournament. Flagged.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 5, 2014
0 - After 105 minutes, Costa Rica still haven't had a shot on target, compared to 8 for the Netherlands. Navas.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 5, 2014
Both teams could've stolen the match in extra time, but instead, we had penalties.
Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal put in Newcastle United keeper Tim Krul just before penalties, which raised a few eyebrows.
Tim Krul, substitute keeper, has come on for here Netherlands No. 1 - this is a risk. What will happen in the penalty shootout?!?!— Innes Macsween (@Innesness) July 5, 2014
After all, who uses a substitute spot on a healthy keeper for something as lucky and arbitrary as saving penalty kicks? Krul had only saved 2 of 20 Premier League penalty attempts too. Incumbent Jasper Cillessen had never stopped a competitive penalty before though, and Krul's slight height advantage (about two inches) put him ahead of Cillessen for the shootout. Van Gaal valued a potential slight advantage over none, knowing that his best penalty takers were already on the field.
Krul talked shit to penalty takers before they had their attempts, and it worked. Krul saved two penalties, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Dirk Kuyt converted theirs clinically, and the Dutch were off running to the semis.