NEWCASTLE keeper Tim Krul last night defended his decision to wind up Costa Rica’s penalty takers in Holland’s dramatic World Cup quarter-final victory.
The Dutch progressed to the semi-finals – and a date with Argentina on Wednesday – after a 4-3 win on penalties in Salvador on Saturday.
Krul was the hero of the night, coming off the bench in the 120th minute specifically for the shoot-out, before saving two spot-kicks.
The goalkeeper drew criticism for his antics during the penalty showdown, though. Krul spoke to every Costa Rican penalty taker as they prepared to take their kick and he also walked around the penalty area in order to psyche the opposing player out.
Some observers believe Krul went too far with his actions, but the 26-year-old denied what he did was not in the spirit of the game.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” the Holland goalkeeper said.
“I did nothing crazy. I didn’t shout in an aggressive manner. I told them I knew where they were going because I had analysed it.
Krul, the man he replaced in goal Jasper Cillessen and goalkeeping coach Franz Hoek, planned the move to unsettle the Costa Ricans before the match.
The trio studied each potential Costa Rica penalty taker at length before the match and they will do the same again with the Argentina squad should their semi-final in Sao Paulo go to a shootout.
If that is the case, Krul could well come off the bench again and he will also try to wind up the Argentinians.
“It is a good way of psyching them out and I am happy to do it again,” Krul said. “We will analyse every Argentina penalty. We will sit together and write up a plan.”
Holland coach Louis van Gaal opted to replace Cillessen with Krul because he thought the Magpie’s extra two inches in height would be a big advantage.
Cillessen did not agree. The Ajax stopper booted a water bottle as he left the pitch, soaking Holland defender Bruno Martins Indi in the process.
“I didn’t know it was going to happen, so I was angry,” Cillessen said.
“I wanted to play and play the penalty shoot out. I kicked the water bottle – Bruno was feeling warm so I did it to cool him down!
“It is a pity I wasn’t told before (about the planned substitution), but it worked very well. Tim made two saves.”
Krul, unsurprisingly, thought the decision to bring him on was a stroke of genius from his coach, who will leave the Dutch set up to take over at Manchester United following the World Cup.
“When I started my warm up, the (Costa Rica) bench was confused about what was going on,” Krul added.
“I saw the Costa Rica manager’s face – it was priceless! It is an honour for us to have a coach like (Van Gaal).
“A club like Manchester United knows what the world of football thinks of him.
“He is proving it in this tournament and he has shown what tactical qualities he has.”
Holland peppered Costa Rica’s goal in Salvador, but they could not find a way through after 120 minutes – thanks largely to some excellent goalkeeping at the other end from the inspirational Keylor Navas.