The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is nearing closer to the all-time goal-scoring record in the history of the tournament, the record currently stands at 171 goals during France ’98. So far in Brazil, teams have amassed a total of 159 goals, with four games still to play. However, the competition in Brazil has also been one for the goalkeepers. Notable names such as Manuel Neuer and Julio Cesar have impressed. However, lesser known goalkeepers have produced spectacular performances, from Rais M’Bolhi of Algeria, Guillermo Ochoa of Mexico, and of course the outstanding Keylor Navas of Costa Rica. 

While the 120 minutes played between the Netherlands and Costa Rica in Saturday’s quarter-final was certainly all about Keylor Navas and his incredible shot-stopping ability, the final 30 seconds were dedicated to a move that made history.

Never in the 84 years of the tournament had a goalkeeper been substituted in injury time of extra time with an eye to the penalty shootout. Many have labelled Louis Van Gaal as ‘crazy’ throughout his career as a coach, and his decision to take Jasper Cillessen off in the 121st minute against Costa Rica was yet another reason to do so. But, the Dutch coach has been hailed a genius just as many times, perhaps now, people will call him a visionary.

Tim Krul took Cillessen’s place, he was on the pitch for a little over 30 seconds when the referee blew the final whistle sending the quarter-final to penalties. Van Gaal later admitted that while he had not informed Cillessen of his plan prior to the match, Krul was fully aware and ready.

So why did Van Gaal decide on this substitution? The Newcastle goalkeeper has saved only two of the twenty penalties he has faced in his Premier League career, not the most impressive figures. Cillessen however, has never saved a penalty in his career, a statistic that proved enough to convince Van Gaal.

Upon the final whistle the stands were a wash with Costa Rican supporters celebrating as they began to taste yet another potential scalp following their penalty triumph over Greece in the round of 16.

As Borges approached the spot for the first penalty, Krul whispered something to him, but conceded. The Dutch goalkeeper repeated his routine for the following four penalties, Bryan Ruiz, one of the Ticos’ stars in the tournament had his penalty saved. Umana would miss the fifth and final penalty, the Dutch would score all of theirs, running out 4-3 winners and setting up a semi-final clash with Argentina.

The match could and probably should have been about Keylor Navas once again, the goalkeeper with the most saves in the history of the World Cup, a record he beat also thanks to his performance against the Netherlands. Instead, it proved to be Tim Krul’s match, who came on in the 121st minute, saved two penalties, and became the hero of his country for a night. The Netherlands had never gone through in the World Cup having drawn against their opponents in 90 minutes, it took a moment of genius from Louis Van Gaal to change the course of their history…