SALVADOR, Brazil — Tim Krul came on as a substitute in the final minute of extra time and then saved two penalties in a 4-3 shootout victory over Costa Rica on Saturday, giving the Netherlands a spot in the World Cup semifinals.
The Newcastle goalkeeper saved spot kicks from Costa Rica captain Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana after the match had finished 0-0.
The Dutch team will next face Argentina in the semifinals Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
In another stroke of tactical genius at this year’s World Cup, Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal pulled Jasper Cillessen moments after the Ajax goalkeeper had kept his team in the match by saving a shot from Marcos Urena in extra time.
Krul looked super confident during the shootout, saving the second and fifth penalties.
When Krul stopped Ruiz’s penalty, Cillessen, watching from the sideline, punched the air in celebration.
Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas had kept his team in the match with a string of saves in the first half and again in extra time. When Wesley Sneijder twice beat him late in regulation and again in the second half of extra time, the woodwork made the stop.
Sneijder hit the post with a free kick in the 80th minute and sent a curling shot over Navas and off the crossbar before the penalty shootout.
At the end, however, Navas could not stop any of the four Dutch penalties as Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt all scored.
ARGENTINA 1, BELGIUM 0: Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal of this World Cup sent Argentina into the semifinals on Saturday with a 1-0 win over a disappointing Belgium in Brasilia, Brazil.
Argentina, which hadn’t advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals since 1990, controlled the match after Higuain’s eighth minute goal, more due to disciplined defending than sparkling attack.
The Napoli striker fired home Angel Di Maria’s deflected pass just inside the area, beating Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a low shot to the far corner of the goal as he turned.
“Since the first game of this World Cup I said I was calm, that the goals would come. It came and at an important moment,” Higuain said. “It’s been so many years since we made it to the semifinals. Now we did.”
Higuain came close to making it 2-0 in the second half when his shot smashed into the crossbar. Lionel Messi missed a chance to score his fifth goal of the tournament when he failed to beat Courtois on a counterattack.
Belgium lacked the creativity to find a way past Argentina’s disciplined defense, and created few clear chances apart from a pair of headers by Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini.
Belgium’s most creative player, Eden Hazard, had little impact on the game beyond receiving a yellow card for a studs-first challenge on Lucas Biglia. Hazard cut a disconsolate figure as he was substiuted by Nacer Chadli in the 75th.
Argentina’s next opponent will the Netherlands, a 4-3 winner over Costa Rica in a penalty-kick shootout.
Long after the game, thousands of Argentine fans flocked to one section of the Estadio Nacional to celebrate the team’s best World Cup performance in 24 years.
Argentina was knocked out in the quarterfinals in the previous two World Cups, both times by the Germans. The last time it reached the semifinals was in Italy in 1990, when Diego Maradona led the team to the final – which it lost 1-0 to West Germany.
Argentina has won every match in Brazil with a single goal. But unlike in previous games, the Albiceleste put in a solid performance over 90 minutes in Brasilia, frustrating the Belgians with a near-flawless defense, bolstered by strong performances from central midfielders Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia.
The team looked in control even after Di Maria – the team’s most influential player in Brazil aside from Messi – was substituted by Enzo Perez in the 33rd minute. The winger had appeared to hurt his right leg while shooting five minutes earlier.