Holland goalkeeper Tim Krul is ecstatic to be in the semi-finals of the World Cup after his dramatic introduction to the tournament.
The Newcastle player came on late in extra time and produced two saves in a penalty shoot-out against Costa Rica after a goalless draw over 120 minutes in Saturday’s quarter-final in Salvador. Krul said: “Tonight I have realised a dream. What I’ve experienced is an incredible emotion.
“Louis [van Gaal, Holland coach] had warned me. It was something prepared and I knew that I would have this chance.”
Van Gaal promised Cillessen - who, unlike Krul, was not told of the planned change for the shoot-out - that he remains his first choice for the semi-final. He said: “There is no question about who will start next game, it will be Cillessen,.
“But we felt Krul was the better choice here.
“We told Krul that he would be a possibility for the penalties, but we didn’t tell Cillessen, as we didn’t want to ruin his preparation.”
The Oranje had numerous chances to win the game without the need for spot-kicks but were denied by the woodwork three times as well as by an inspired display from Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas.
“It was that kind of night when the ball did not want to go in,” midfielder Wesley Sneijder added.
“But despite all of our hard work we still went into the penalty shoot-out sharp.
“There was only one team that deserved to go to the semi-finals and it was us. If you work hard you go very far.”
Holland, runners-up four years ago in South Africa, take on Argentina in the last four on Wednesday in Sao Paulo.
“Now we have to think of Argentina,” Krul said. “It will be a very difficult game.”
Brazil, meanwhile, are expected to fail in their appeal against the yellow card which will keep Thiago Silva out of their semi-final against Germany tomorrow evening (9pm UK time).