Louis Van Gaal has hailed his tactics of replacing first-choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with Tim Krul who helped Holland to a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Costa Rica on Friday night at the Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador.
Holland coach Van Gaal said after the dramatic and nervy game that he is a “little bit proud” of the trick which sailed his side through to the semi-finals.
Van Gaal pulled out Ajax goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen in the 120th minute in favour of the slightly taller Newcastle keeper Krul, who made two saves to set up a last four tie with Argentina on Wednesday.
However, Van Gaal revealed it had all been planned before the match but Cillessen wasn’t informed.
“First and foremost, the coach decides who is going to play and who is going to be a substitute,” Van Gaal said.
“We said nothing to Jasper Cillessen because we didn’t want to face this before the match. It would be disappointing for him, but every keeper has his specific qualities. We felt Tim had a better track record of saving penalties. Fortunately, this worked out.”
“We always felt that Tim Krul would be the most appropriate player to stop penalties,” Van Gaal said.
“He has a long reach and we prepared Costa Rican penalties. He dove into the right corner time and time again. We are a little bit proud that this trick has helped us through.”
Krul has saved two of 20 penalties during his time with Newcastle but failed to stop any of the five spot-kicks he faced last season.
Van Gaal, revealed he planned to use Krul while heading into extra time. He did not feel the move came at the expense of swapping out a third outfield before the shootout.
“Before the 90 minutes had ended, I thought they were playing well and that we created lots of opportunities. I didn’t have this need to substitute anyone,” Van Gaal continued.
“I felt that Memphis Depay didn’t play really well, so I exchanged him for Jeremain Lens. In the extra time, I took into account that I would maybe want to use Krul should it come down to penalties.
“Of course, we also had the injuries to Ron Vlaar. Georginio Wijnaldum was exhausted, Robin Van Persie as well. I brought in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, which was a risk. I went from five to four defenders. It was a bit tricky, touch-and-go, but in hindsight, it was a big success.”