by Talek Harris

Substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul saved two penalties in a dramatic shoot-out yesterday, as the Netherlands edged Costa Rica 4-3 to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

After a goalless 120 minutes, the towering Newcastle United custodian came on at the end of extra time and he saved from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to win the quarter-final for the Dutch.

It was another masterstroke from Manchester United-bound coach Louis van Gaal, who despite his ingenuity was unable to engineer a breakthrough in normal and extra time.

Costa Rica rarely threatened and appeared content to play for penalties, their strong suit after goalkeeper Keylor Navas kept out Greece in a shoot-out in the last 16.

But their bluff was called and after Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt all buried their kicks, the outstretched Krul denied Umana to seal the win.

Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto was proud at his team's contribution to the World Cup. - SAPA AFP