Louis van Gaal did it against Mexico in the round of 16 and he did it against Costa Rica in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup: made a big substitution that would have a huge impact on the match.
Against Mexico at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on June 29, the Netherlands coach took off star striker and captain Robin van Persie and replaced him with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on 76 minutes.
It was 1-0 to the Mexicans at the time, but eventually the Dutch would win the contest 2-1, with the Schalke striker scoring the winning goal from the penalty spot in the fourth minute of injury time.
Then on Saturday, Van Gaal replaced first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with Newcastle United’s Tim Krul in injury time of the extra-time period.
Krul saved no fewer than two spot kicks and help the Oranje go through to the semi-finals 4-3 on penalties.
It was said to be a masterstroke by Van Gaal, who will take charge of Manchester United after the World Cup, and former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has had his say on the matter.
‘Sensible move by LVG to bring Krul on last night’, the 34-year-old wrote on Sportlobster.com on Sunday. ‘I didn't have him down as a great penalty saver but when a manager does that, the confidence it injects into you is huge’.
The former England and United striker then agreed with one of his Twitter followers when he pointed out that the substitution was done to get a psychological advantage over the Costa Ricans.
Owen is spot-on about Van Gaal – the 62-year-old did convince the Costa Rica players into thinking that Krul was being brought on because he is a ‘penalty-kick specialist’, and it did give the 26-year-old Newcastle star confidence.
The Dutchman himself has said that Krul is better at saving penalties than Cillessen is, which might well be true, but him waiting until late on in extra time to throw in the Newcastle keeper certainly made the opponents nervous.