Italy players celebrate UEFA Euro championship after their 3-2 shootout win against England at Wembley Stadium in England: UFEA

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Krul hero for Dutch

International Sports

Super-sub,Krul a hero Super-sub,Krul a hero Goalkeeper Tim Krul came off the bench late in extra time and saved two penalties as Netherlands beat Costa Rica in a shootout to set up a World Cup semi-final against Argentina.


Newcastle's Krul saved from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana to send the Dutch through after the game finished 0-0.

Wesley Sneijder had hit the woodwork twice for Netherlands, while Robin van Persie had a shot turned onto the bar.

The Dutch face Argentina, who beat Belgium, in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal, who will take charge at Manchester United at the end of the tournament, brought Krul on for Jasper Cillessen in added time at the end of 120 minutes.

And his two saves proved decisive as the Dutch - who had lost each of their previous four World Cup matches to go to extra time - converted all four of their spot-kicks.

Costa Rica had progressed as winners from a group containing Uruguay, Italy and England, and once again impressed with their organisation and energy.

But just as they did against Mexico in the second round, Van Gaal's team found a way through despite being some way short of the fluency they showed in patches during the group phase.

Twenty one minutes had passed before Netherlands managed an effort on goal.

A sweeping move down the right ended with Dirk Kuyt pulling a cross back and Memphis Depay laid the ball off for Van Persie, whose low drive was blocked by goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who also saved Sneijder's follow-up.

Depay might have done better when he was slipped through by Van Persie, but the PSV Eindhoven forward's stab at the near post was turned away by Navas.

Costa Rica's only threat came from Christian Bolanos free-kicks, with one flying just too high for Celso Borges and another headed back across goal by Borges only for Johnny Acosta to fail to make contact.

Navas showed his quality once again when he tipped a bending Sneijder free-kick away from the top corner, but Netherlands offered little going forward as the second half developed.

After forcing Giancarlo Gonzalez to head off target following a Bolanos set-piece, Ron Vlaar glanced a header high and wide from a whipped Sneijder free-kick at the other end.

And when Navas was beaten, Sneijder's curling free-kick bounced away off a post.

As the Netherlands exerted some late pressure, Navas turned away a low drive from Van Persie and the Manchester United striker failed to make contact with a fine Sneijder cross.

Yeltsin Tejeda then diverted a close-range Van Persie effort onto the crossbar as a tiring Costa Rica took the game into extra time.

The Dutch continued to push on, with Navas forced to palm away a Vlaar header, but they could not find a way through.

Los Ticos had a penalty appeal rejected when Vlaar challenged substitute Marcos Urena, who then forced a full-length save from Cillessen.

There was still time for Sneijder's 20-yard drive to strike the crossbar, but after Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder and Kuyt converted their penalties, Krul's save from Urena sent his team through.

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