Krul twist all part of master plan
Holland 0 Costa Rica 0 (after extra-time - Holland win 4-3 on pens)
Tim Krul had been studying potential opposing penalty-takers for seven weeks, and was earmarked for Saturday's extraordinary specialist shoot-out role by Louis van Gaal on the advice of Dutch goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek.
Hoek, who will move to Manchester United with Van Gaal after the World Cup finals, is considered one of the best goalkeeping coaches in the world and is used by UEFA and FIFA for their top courses.
He backed Krul, who came on for Jasper Cillessen and saved two penalties in the shoot-out to put the Dutch into the semi-finals of the World Cup.
"Frans Hoek told the manager my qualities and he believed in me,'' said the Newcastle United goalkeeper.
"The manager has obviously seen me in the last seven weeks training. We have been training seven weeks and a certain way, studying every (opposing) player. We have been working with the goalkeeper coach to come up with this plan."
Van Gaal also knew that Krul's record before was two saves from his last 20. Cillessen has never saved a penalty in his career, having faced 16.
"In the hotel, stepping on the bus to the stadium, I was told that I could be used,'' added Krul, speaking at Flamengo's training ground.
"The manager and the goalkeeper coach told me, if we had a substitution left, there was a possibility I would be used in the shoot-out.
"Frans said to me: 'Keep it between us. Hopefully we will finish it off in 90 minutes'. The whole game, I was watching with a different view because I knew the possibility would be there."
With a few minutes left of extra-time, Van Gaal told Krul to get ready. The psychological warfare began.
"When I started my warm-up, the whole Costa Rican bench was confused about what was going on. Their manager's (Jose Pinto's) face when he saw me was priceless.
"He was looking over to see what our manager was doing. It definitely had an impact. It was a fantastic move.''
Krul is a huge admirer of Van Gaal. "It's an honour to have a coach like this. For a club like Manchester United to sign him shows you what the world of football thinks of him. It shows you what kind of tactical qualities he has," he added.
The Dutch had numerous chances to score before spot-kicks were required but were denied by Costa Rica 'keeper Keylor Navas, who had recovered from a shoulder injury to start and was named man of the match.
The Oranje also hit the woodwork three times, including in the last minute of normal time when Robin van Persie's shot was deflected onto the crossbar by defender Yeltsin Tejeda on the goalline. But a game that lacked goals made up for it with the drama of a unique penalty shoot-out.
And it was also a typically shrewd act by the Dutch to make Krul and Cillessen available to speak at their Flamengo base yesterday, addressing a major talking point rather than hiding from it as the English FA probably would.
Cillessen kept looking at Krul as they sat within yards of each other, but there was no animosity, just professionalism and pleasure in reaching the last four.
Cillessen did admit his "surprise" at events as extra-time closed.
"I didn't know it would happen before, it was a bit of a surprise. I saw him warm-up when we had some corners, but I stayed focused on the game," he said. "I thought he was just doing a warm-up in case I got hit.''
In the first minute of injury-time in the second period of extra-time, Van Gaal summoned Cillessen to the bench.
"I was a bit angry,'' said the Ajax goalkeeper. "I wanted to play the penalty shoot-out.''
Cillessen also spoke to the Dutch media, detailing his reaction. The Dutch media officer, behaving like a friendly but firm senior school master, made the 'keeper repeat this in English.
"I was angry when I went out,'' admitted Cillessen. "I kicked the water bottle. Bruno (Martins Indi) was feeling warm, so I did it to cool him down!"
Krul took his place in goal, immediately preparing for the shoot-out. "I was ready for the moment,'' said the Dutch hero, who immediately started going up to the Costa Rican penalty takers, speaking in Spanish, testing their mettle by saying "Vamos".
'Let's go. Give it your best shot'. It was Bruce Grobbelaar meets Bruce Willis. "I don't think I did anything wrong,'' said Krul. I didn't shout in an aggressive manner. I did nothing crazy.
"I told them I knew the way they were going with their penalties because I had analysed it. I was trying to get in their heads and it worked.
"It is a way of trying to psyche them out. They were under massive pressure. I was under massive pressure. So I did everything in my power and I am happy to do it again.''
The referee Ravshan Irmatov of Uzbekistan should have intervened with some of Krul's unsporting theatrics. Bryan Ruiz with Costa Rica's second kick and Michael Umana with their fateful fifth were unnerved, and Krul saved their efforts. He still had to show remarkable reflexes, however.
"I am over the moon I saved two penalties doing that. To save two penalties is a little boy's dream. Against Greece, the way they took the penalties was five times different than against us."
Credit also needs paying to the Dutch scorers – Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt, who all beat one of the 'keepers of the tournament, Navas. When Krul saved from Umana, Cillessen was the first to sprint on and congratulate him.
"It is a pity I wasn't told, but it worked very well,'' said Cillessen. "I had to accept it. I am happy with the coach and he wants me to play (against Argentina).
"It worked well as Tim made two saves. He is the big man now. But why should it affect my confidence? It will not affect my confidence. I have to make sure we do not get into penalties."
Krul, through, acknowledged it has been "difficult" sitting on the bench, biding his time, even if he did take his chance brilliantly.
"I've been training day in, day out here to prove myself to the manager. The manager chose Jasper. I have to keep training and am really pleased the manager showed confidence in me to put me in the quarter-final of a World Cup.
"Jealousy? There's no jealousy with Jasper. Jasper is our No 1 at the moment. It is the same for Michel Vorm. He wants to play. Me and him have to keep him sharp day in day out. That's what we're doing. That's why we're in the semi-final."
Cillessen nodded. "They keep me sharp,'' he said before turning his thoughts to Argentina, who will almost certainly be without Angel di Maria.
"Di Maria is a good player but we look at the whole team, not just one player,'' said Cillessen. "We will look at Argentina and make our plan to beat Argentina." (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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