Soccer lovers everywhere would appreciate this match as it came down to the heart stopping moments that always accompany penalty kicks. It wasn't expected, but the underdogs Costa Rica sent the match with heavy favorites, the Netherlands, to extra time and beyond. Nothing anyone expected, especially with how far forward the Dutch were pressing. Threatening for most of the match, the Netherlands should have won the match in regulation, but the Ticos had something else to say about it.
In a match where the Dutch held over 63% of the possession with 20 shots, they were asking for a goal. To watch Costa Rica stump the Oranje time and time again, was truly a marvel in itself. Though they didn't leave themselves a lot of opportunities on their offensive side, they managed to quell the Netherlands' attack and hold them off to a shootout. Something the Dutch hadn't been so successful with in the past.
The Netherlands showed a well rounded match. They were able to get themselves back onto the defensive side of the ball before the Ticos could get any sort of counter moving. Ron Vlaar held the back line to near perfection, only allowing Costa Rica a few true chances. The focus of the match defensively fell onto Costa Rica. But not only did the offense of the Netherlands keep them safe defensively, but the chances that the Ticos did manage to find were often poked away by the Dutch back four.
It was clear that Costa Rica's Joel Campbell was still ailing from his exhaustive campaign against Greece as his impact against Greece was below par against the Netherlands. It was wise for Jorge Luis Pinto to make the change midway through the second half. Although it allowed for the Netherlands to press forward even more than before. The offensive threat of Costa Rica disappeared, and they found themselves on their heels for much of the second half.
Amazingly, when extra time presented itself, the Ticos found a second wind nearly ending the match twice with near goals. Klaus Huntelaar's sub was clear that the Netherlands were hoping that he could provide some extra striking ability. Also, after the Netherlands' last match against Mexico, his penalty kick was flawless, and Holland manager Louis van Gaal was hoping he might do the same, if the match was to end up in penalty kicks.
The questionable move from Van Gaal by substituting a goalkeeper who hadn't seen any playing time throughout the Cup. Unless Van Gaal had Krul focusing on penalty kicks through training, Krul wasn't expected to see the pitch. The move was genius. Putting on the big 6'4" keeper who had stopped 2 of 20 penalty kicks in his career was speculated by nearly everyone. But it proved worthwhile, as he stopped 2 of the 4 shots Costa Rica took as he became the Oranje hero putting the Netherlands into the semi finals against Argentina.