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World Cup 2014

Football: Krul revels in Dutch shootout heroics

Published on Jul 7, 2014 6:19 AM
Netherlands' national soccer team goalkeeper Tim Krul exercises with a ball during a training session in Rio de Janeiro, on July 6, 2014. Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul on Sunday revelled in the role of unexpected hero a day after he became the star of his side’s shootout success over Costa Rica. -- PHOTO: REUTERS 

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul on Sunday revelled in the role of unexpected hero a day after he became the star of his side’s shootout success over Costa Rica.

Coach Louis Van Gaal elected to bring on Newcastle United keeper Krul for Jasper Cillessen of Ajax just seconds before the end of extra time in their goalless encounter.

Van Gaal decided 26-year-old Krul, 1.93m tall and 6cm taller than Cillessen, was the better bet for spotkicks.

The substitute duly saved two to propel the three-time finalists into a semi-final meeting with Argentina.

Krul told a press conference he had learned from goalkeeping coach Frans Hoek just ahead of the game about the cunning ploy.

“The manager and the goalie coach told me before the game if we had a substitute left the possibility was there to use me in the penalty shootout,” said Krul.

“The whole game I was watching it differently because I knew the possibility was there” to come on, said Krul, who joined Newcastle from Den Haag in 2005.

Krul also said he had “psyched out” the Central Americans in saving from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana.

“When I started my warm up the whole bench was kind of confused what is going on,” added Krul.

Cillessen appeared to be angry as he went off having first touched gloves with Krul – he kicked out at the water bottles by the dugout and splashed defender Bruno Martins Indi.

“For me it was a big surprise,” said Cillessen. But he insisted: “I was only angry until I got out.”

The Ajax shot-stopper manically sprinted to congratulate Krul at the end.

Krul said he accepted his position as second choice in a national side riven by battles between big egos in the past.

“We have got 23 players and obviously everyone wants to play. I have been training day in, day out to prove myself to the manager,” said Krul.

“There is no jealousy. Obviously, I would like to play but Jasper is our number one at the moment,” said Krul, concluding that it was up to him and third keeper Michael Vorm to keep Cillessen “sharp”.

Striker Robin Van Persie revealed the Dutch had done their homework down to the last detail to ensure their takers played their part and hit the target.

“The goalkeeping coach had prepared us very well for the spotkicks.

“He showed us a video of (Costa Rica keeper Keylor) Navas’s last 20 penalties. We knew how he dived,” said the Manchester United forward.

“Of course when it comes to the moment you shoot is is difficult. It’s not like in training.”

“The idea to bring in Krul was a stroke of genius – and our keeper was extraordinary.”

Minutes after his exploit, Krul told Dutch broadcaster NOS: “Hoek came to me and said ‘If we have a sub left there is a chance you’ll have to come in’” And then it happened!”

He added: “I psyched them out – I tried to get in their minds.”

Van Gaal, who will take over at Manchester United after the tournament, kept the decision a secret from Cillessen.

“We all thought Tim was the best keeper to stop penalties,” said Van Gaal. “He is taller and has a longer reach.

“We said nothing to Jasper because we didn’t want before the match for him to be faced with this information as it would be disappointing.”

After the game Van Gaal exulted: “It worked out. That was beautiful.” Minutes after his starring cameo Krul tweeted his delight: “Words can’t describe how proud I am to be part of this team and this fantastic journey.”