Sunday 06 July 2014
Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul proved the hero for the Netherlands after coming off the bench in the 121st minute of their goalless FIFA World Cup semi-final with Costa Rica to make two crucial saves in a contest decided on penalties.
The decision to bring on Krul specifically for the shoot-out proved a masterstroke for manager Louis van Gaal, who will take over the reins of Manchester United later this month, as the Newcastle keeper kept out spot-kicks by former Fulham midfielder Bryan Ruiz and Marco Urena, while the Oranje scored from all of their attempts, the first from Man United striker Robin van Persie, to reach the semi-finals.
Van Persie might have suspected it was not going to be his night after missing an 88th-minute cross with the goal at his mercy and then, in injury time, seeing his goalbound shot deflected on to the bar by Yeltsin Tejeda.
Team-mate Wesley Sneijder also twice struck the woodwork, with a free-kick on 82 minutes that came back off the post and a curling strike that crashed against the crossbar during extra time, while Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar's header was repelled by the excellent Keylor Navas in the additional half-hour. Yet Costa Rica might have won it at the death, when Umana jinked his way into the area only to be denied by Jasper Cillessen, who moments later made way for Krul to make his crucial contribution.
BPL players involved
The Netherlands: Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Robin van Persie (Manchester United). Sub: Tim Krul (Newcastle United, 120+1). Subs not used: Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City)
Costa Rica: Joel Campbell (Arsenal; sub: 66min).
Gonzalo Higuain's early goal proved enough to end Belgium's tournament and set up a World Cup semi-final encounter with Germany.
The Napoli striker produced the only goal of the game on eight minutes after Angel Di Maria's cross was deflected by Jan Vertonghen into his path, and Higuain struck with a first-time effort.
In an open first half Lionel Messi's free-kick just cleared the bar, while at the other end Everton's Kevin Mirallas headed Vertonghen's left-wing cross narrowly wide.
After the break Higuain almost scored again with a shot that clipped the bar, while Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini also came close when heading another superb centre from Tottenham Hotspur defender Vertonghen just wide. But ultimately Les Diables Rouges were unable to break down the firm resistance of a defence including Manchester City pair Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis, and they were grateful late on to Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for thwarting Lionel Messi and extending his personal run of clean sheets against the Barcelona forward to eight matches.
BPL players involved
Argentina: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City). Sub not used: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Belgium: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea, on loan last season at Atletico Madrid), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea; sub: 75), Kevin Mirallas (Everton; sub: 60). Subs used: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, on loan at Everton last season, 59), Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur, 75). Subs not used: Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United).
Of the 92 players remaining in the tournament, more than a fifth, 18, hail from Barclays Premier League clubs. Chelsea lead the way with seven players still on international duty, with Arsenal and Manchester City having six each.
Brazil (6): Oscar (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Fernandinho (Man City), Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers), Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur).
Netherlands (5): Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Robin van Persie (Man Utd), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City).
Germany (4): Per Mertesacker (Arsenal); Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea).
Argentina (3): Sergio Aguero (Man City), Martin Demichelis (Man City), Pablo Zabaleta (Man City).
Chelsea (4): Oscar, Ramires, Willian, Schurrle.
Man City (4): Aguero, Demichelis, Zabaleta, Fernandinho.
Arsenal (3): Mertesacker, Ozil, Podolski.
Swansea City (2): Vorm, De Guzman.
Aston Villa (1): Vlaar.
Manchester United (1): Van Persie.
Newcastle United (1): Krul.
Queens Park Rangers (1): Julio Cesar.
Tottenham Hotspur (1): Paulinho.
8 Manchester United
3 Arsenal, Liverpool
2 Manchester City, Swansea City,
1 Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur
3 Robin Van Persie (Netherlands & Man Utd).
2 Luis Suarez (Uruguay & Liverpool), Wilfried Bony (Ivory Coast & Swansea City).
1 Oscar (Brazil & Chelsea), Daniel Sturridge (England & Liverpool), Joel Campbell (Costa Rica & Arsenal), Marouane Fellaini (Belgium & Man Utd), Mile Jedinak (Australia & Crystal Palace), Wayne Rooney (England & Man Utd), Olivier Giroud (France & Arsenal), Moussa Sissoko (France & Newcastle Utd), Peter Odemwingie (Nigeria & Stoke), Nani (Portugal & Man Utd), Javier Hernandez (Mexico & Man Utd), Fernandinho (Brazil & Man City), Juan Mata (Spain & Man Utd), Fernando Torres (Spain & Chelsea), Edin Dzeko (Bosnia-Herzegovina & Man City), Jan Vertonghen (Belgium & Tottenham Hotspur), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea).
9pm Brazil v Germany
9pm Netherlands v Argentina