Featured Matches
Previous
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
0
1
FT
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
4
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Sparta Prague
Malmo FF
4
2
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Slovan Bratislava
Sheriff Tiraspol
2
1
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Debrecen
BATE Borisov
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Wealdstone
Wycombe Wanderers
1
2
FT
Game Details
Frickley Athletic
Scunthorpe XI
0
1
FT
Game Details
Exeter City
Swansea City
0
2
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
Rotherham United
0
2
FT
Game Details
Burton Albion
Derby County
0
1
FT
Game Details
Lincoln City
Mansfield Town
1
3
FT
Game Details
Newport County
Coventry City
1
0
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Birmingham City
0
4
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
AFC Bournemouth
2
3
FT
Game Details
Stevenage
Reading
0
0
FT
Game Details
Altrincham
Accrington Stanley
1
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Milton Keynes Dons
3
1
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Bristol City
1
4
FT
Game Details
Concord Rangers
Dagenham & Redbridge
0
2
FT
Game Details
Dumbarton
Carlisle United
0
2
FT
Game Details
Hyde
Burnley XI
2
3
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Shrewsbury Town
1
1
FT
Game Details
Leyton Orient
Queens Park Rangers
2
2
FT
Game Details
Luton Town
Colchester United
2
2
FT
Game Details
Margate
Barnet
2
1
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Wolverhampton Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Burnley
2
1
FT
Game Details
Sheffield United
Huddersfield Town
0
1
FT
Game Details
Southend United
Ipswich Town
1
2
FT
Game Details
Recreativo Huelva
Sunderland
0
1
FT
Game Details
Valerenga
Stabaek
3
2
FT
Game Details
Defensor Sporting
Nacional
12:15 AM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 2
Game Details
Guadalajara
Coras Tepic
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Irapuato
Queretaro
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Lobos BUAP
Chiapas
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Mineros de Zacatecas
U. de G.
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Correcaminos
Monterrey
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Tijuana
Zacatepec
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
U.A.N.L
Altamira
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Náutico
Icasa
1
0
LIVE 55'
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Oeste
12:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Internazionale
Manchester United
11:30 PM GMT
Game Details
Real Madrid
AS Roma
1:15 AM GMT
Game Details
Cienciano del Cusco
Alianza Lima
2
1
FT
Game Details
Next

Duarte: Dunga's return is complicated

Brazil Jul 21, 2014
Read
 Posted by Iain Macintosh
Jul 5, 2014

Louis van Gaal has gumption to spare

Netherlands substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul saved two Costa Rica penalties to help the Dutch advance to the World Cup semifinals.

Legend has it that Louis van Gaal once literally showed his testicles to his Bayern Munich players in order to prove a point about, well, having them. After what we saw on Saturday night, you can hardly blame him.

NetherlandsNetherlands
Costa RicaCosta Rica
(4) 0
(3) 0
ESPN3, ESPN FT-Pens
Match 59
Game Details

Van Gaal's decision to replace his goalkeeper, Jasper Cillessen, with the man he deemed to be a penalty specialist, Tim Krul, was unprecedented in the history of the World Cup. It was also without statistical support, as Krul had saved only two of 20 spot kicks for Newcastle. But it worked. Krul saved twice against a team who had calmly launched five perfect penalties past Greece in the round of 16. Whether it worked because Krul really is the better penalty stopper or because Costa Rica were weirded out and lost their focus remains up for debate. Van Gaal won't care. It worked.

This, of course, is further evidence that he is the best possible choice to take over at Manchester United, even if his latest stroke of brilliance means that he'll be a bit later than expected in taking up his new position. Van Gaal has courage and he doesn't care about criticism. Against Mexico, he withdrew his star player and faithful lieutenant, Robin van Persie, and then happily watched his replacement, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, score the winner. By stark contrast, David Moyes admitted last season to leaving Van Persie on because he was worried about what people might think if he gave his top scorer the hook.

But before we get too carried away with the phrase "tactical genius," it's worth considering one thing: In order to make the goalkeeping change in the 120th minute, Van Gaal had to limit himself to only two substitutions beforehand. And given that his team were being held by Costa Rica, perhaps it might have been smarter to make changes earlier that might have prevented the prospect of penalties from even rearing its head. You know, such as not waiting until the 106th minute to give Van Persie some assistance in his one-man battle with a three-man defence.

It was a gutsy call, it paid off and Van Gaal deserves the credit he will receive. But, when you think about it, should the Dutch really have been taken that far in the first place?

With his team on the ropes vs. Mexico, van Gaal took risks and was handsomely rewarded.
Louis van Gaal's late substitutions in knockout rounds have pushed the Dutch to victory.

Much credit should go to Cillessen too. According to Van Gaal, he wasn't in on the master plan as the coaching staff didn't want to upset his preparations. But even after he had been hauled off moments before the one period of a goalkeeper's life when he knows he can be only a hero and can't possibly be blamed for everything going wrong, he kept his dignity -- apart from a brief lash of a water bottle. His celebrations for his replacement's heroics were genuine and there wasn't a trace of animosity. The hug he shared with Krul afterward was so perfect for the end of a movie that it should have been in slow motion, set to the sound of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" by Simple Minds and then covered with rolling credits.

Van Gaal has confirmed that Cillessen will start against Argentina, and rightly so. Had it not been for his 117th-minute save from Marco Urena, the Dutch would never have even made it to penalties.


Argentina reached the semifinals of the World Cup too and, unlike their rivals Brazil, they've done it with their best player intact. You can expect their fans to remind the hosts of this point with the sensitivity and consideration for which they are renowned. Perhaps tired of standing around and waiting for his teammates to make chances for him, Lionel Messi decided to drop deep and make chances for everyone else, and with great success. And yet he wasn't his nation's best player.

Javier Mascherano was so dominant in the centre of the pitch that you wondered if manager Alejandro Sabella's response to the poor form of his team had been to invest heavily in cloning techniques. Wherever the Belgians broke through, a short, shaven-headed man with eyes that spoke of fire and retribution materialised with extreme prejudice.

At the other end, Marouane Fellaini was rather less effective, especially whenever Messi came near him. He tried leaning into him, he tried buffeting him, he tried kicking him. At one point, shortly before halftime, you suspected he might just give up, lift Messi above his head and break him across his knee like an uncooperative piece of flat-pack furniture. The second half brought sweet relief. Never has one man looked so relieved to be told to have a go up front.

Sadly, Belgium ended a tournament they had begun with so much promise by repeatedly lumping the ball up front to two big men. Manager Marc Wilmots had caught the eye earlier in the campaign with a run of game-changing substitutes, but as the competition dragged on, the question of why the game always needed to be changed grew rather insistent.

Trudging to the last eight and then allowing the match to drift away is not what dark horses do. It is what England used to do. And the English know well that "golden generations" should not be squandered.

Iain Macintosh

Iain Macintosh is a U.K. football correspondent for The New Paper in Singapore, writer for ESPN and co-author of "Football Manager Stole My Life" from @backpagepress. You can follow him on Twitter @iainmacintosh.

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.