Costa Rica finally had their luck run out as it took penalty kicks for the Netherlands to defeat them in the World Cup quarterfinals. Chances were in favor of the winners as Wesley Sneijder was clearly the man of this match with two efforts rocking the woodwork and one free kick being dipped wide by keeper Keylor Navas.
The interesting point of this match was the substitution of keeper Tim Krul, who jumped into the game for Jasper Cillessen only to take part in the penalty shootout, due to Cillessen never saving a penalty thus far into his career. This was a genius move by coach Louis van Gaal because it paid massive dividends — Krul saved two of the five kicks in addition to guessing the direction of each one. Having a confident goal keeper always plays a key part in a shootout with everything on the line. The respect this man deserves is inexplicable as he rode the bench all tourney long until that tough event.
Arjen Robben was once again the go-to player as he ruled the right flank with his speed, skill and ability to cut inside the throw off defenders. However, as predicted, he would not be the best player for the Dutch as he would be covered by many players at a time. Therefore, Sneijder — who once again created the most successful chances — deserves this honor. He along with Robben, Robin van Persie and Dirk Kuyt hit home his penalty kick to help his nation advance.
On Wednesday, the Netherlands will face Argentina in their semifinal. This is the nation they lost to in the 1978 World Cup final. Since they lost the 2010 World Cup final as well, they can get a bit of revenge by getting there again against one of the world’s best. Both teams have remarkable defenses, but they will rely on the brilliance of their midfield and attack.