Newcastle goalkeeper crossed the line, says leading ex-referee

Tim Krul

Tim Krul's actions were 'beyond gamesmanship,' according to Graham Poll.

Krul was a vital presence as the Netherlands beat Costa Rica on penalties to reach the World Cup semi-finals, following a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes of play.

The former World Cup and Premier League referee took no issue with Louis van Gaal's late introduction of the goalkeeper, while he praised the performance of the official in charge before the game went to penalties.

However, Poll states that the laws of the game required the Newcastle United goalkeeper to go straight to his line during the spot-kicks, something he clearly didn't do.

"Krul should have been warned and then cautioned for unsporting behaviour if he had ignored the referee. If he had carried on his antics he could have been sent off," Poll wrote in the Daily Mail.

"However, because [Uzbek referee Ravshan] Irmatov failed even to warn Krul it is hard to blame the Dutchman too much for continuing to try to unsettle the Costa Rica penalty-takers."

And when you review the evidence, it's hard to disagree with the former referee - even if he did once hand a player three yellow cards before sending him off.

Krul was heroic in keeping out Costa Rica's penalties but shameful in his approach beforehand.

When Jerzy Dudek did star jumps during Liverpool's Champions League final win over AC Milan, that was one thing - behaviour purely connected with mind games.

But intimidation, walking up to your opponent, putting them off verbally and downright enraging them is beyond the spirit of the game. And if Dutchman Krul was so confident he would save the penalties, why act that way, anyway?

While the 26-year-old will be remembered as the man who took Netherlands into the last four, then, he should also be remembered as another example of weak refereeing at this World Cup. The referee should have warned him and followed through with a punishment if that warning was not heeded.

As Poll says, though, the official failed to even give a warning in the first place, leaving the Costa Rican penalty takers at a disadvantage and allowing Krul to play the role of playground bully.

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