Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul has revealed the secret to his penalty-saving success after the side’s shootout victory over Costa Rica in the World Cup quarter-finals.
Replacing first-choice Jasper Cillessen before the end of extra-time with the score deadlocked at 0-0, the innovatory substitution by manager Louis van Gaal proved to be a masterstroke, as Krul would go on to save two spot-kicks to earn the Netherlands a place in the final four.
Speaking after the match, the Newcastle United keeper expressed his delight at having been able to play such a key role in the side’s win and also revealed his secret for getting the upper hand over the Costa Ricans.
‘It’s surreal, I can’t describe it at the moment,’ he told FIFA.com. ‘Seeing the boys run towards me, I’ve seen that so many times on TV after goalkeepers save penalties and win the game.
'That it’s me tonight in a World Cup quarter-final is something surreal and I don’t think it’ll sink in for a couple of days'.
‘I watched them [Costa Rica] against Greece and studied them and I told the players that I knew where they were going to shoot to make them a bit nervous,’ he added.
‘Maybe it worked. It happened before when I played against Frank Lampard: I told him that I knew and I saved it. I just tried that again. I’m so happy it worked today.’
Van Gaal’s decision to introduce the reserve keeper receiving numerous plaudits afterwards, the coach noted that the potential scenario had been explained to Krul well before the shootout but also stressed that, despite his heroics, Cillessen would remain the first-choice going forward.
‘We told Tim that he would be the better goalkeeper for a penalty shoot-out because he’s taller,’ he said. ‘We didn’t say anything to Cillessen because we didn’t want to interfere with his preparations or his concentration.
‘However, there is no question whatsoever that Cillessen will be in the starting line-up again for the next match. It was just that in this case we felt Krul was the better option and he proved us right. He went the right way on every penalty.’
With the Netherlands now facing Argentina on Wednesday for a place in the final, Krul is fully prepared should that encounter go to penalties too.
‘I’ll study Argentina as well,’ the 26-year-old stated. ‘We’ve been studying and planning what we’re going to do before every game with all the goalkeepers and the goalkeeping coach, so we’re going to do that again.’