SALVADOR, Brazil – With a World Cup quarterfinal in the closing moments of overtime on Saturday, Louis van Gaal, coach of the Netherlands, made a move that was as bold as it was rare.
As penalty kicks loomed in a 0-0 game, he replaced his starting goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, with Tim Krul, who had not yet played in the tournament but was confident to the point of haughtiness in a 4-3 victory in the shootout.
After growing frustrated against Costa Rica, which seemed mostly content to sit back, surrender possession and play for penalty kicks, the Dutch became assured and clinical. The Netherlands made all of its penalty kicks while the 6-foot-4 Krul made two dramatic saves after appearing to try to intimidate the Costa Ricans.
Some commentators found his animated behavior unsporting, but Krul’s teammates mobbed him and his country celebrated an improbable hero.
“That is not normal,” Krul, 26, said of spending about 120 minutes on the bench and then entering with the pressure of advancing his team.
“It’s a dream,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Costa Rica proved to be a great surprise in this World Cup, surrendering only two goals in five matches behind its organized defense and superb goalkeeper, Keylor Navas.
But with the Ticos’ exit, after equally excruciating defeats for the United States and Mexico in the second round, the North American, Central American and Caribbean region was again left without a semifinalist in a drought that extends to 1930.
Krul plays in England for Newcastle United but had saved only two of 20 penalty kicks in the Premier League. Still, he is 2 inches taller than Cillessen and has a longer reach.
“We thought it all through,” Van Gaal said. “We all thought Tim Krul was the best keeper to stop penalties.”