Dutch delight after penalty progress
Netherlands' substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul dramatically made two saves in a penalty shootout against Costa Rica to carry his side into the semifinals of the World Cup.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal brought the Newcastle keeper on for Jasper Cillessen late in extra time after a goalless 120 minutes in Salvador on Saturday, and the decision paid off handsomely.
Krul denied Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana while the Dutch converted all of their spot-kicks to set up a meeting with Argentina in the last four.
Netherlands had numerous chances to score before spot-kicks were required but were denied by Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas, who had recovered from a shoulder injury to start and was named man of the match.
The Oranje also hit the woodwork three times, including in the last minute of normal time when Robin van Persie's shot was deflected onto the crossbar by defender Yeltsin Tejeda on the goalline.
A Costa Rica side that had never reached the quarterfinal stage before and had been the surprise package of the tournament suffered heartbreak but can return home with their heads held high.
Netherlands dominated possession but could not break through Costa Rica's well-drilled defence in the opening stages.
The Ticos threatened in the 19th minute when Joel Campbell turned inside Bruno Martins Indi and sent in a low cross towards the box, which was cleared by Ron Vlaar with Christian Gamboa waiting at the far post.
The Oranje almost broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when Memphis Depay fed Van Persie in the left side of the box but his powerful attempt was kept out by Navas, who also saved Sneijder's follow-up.
At the other end, Celso Borges could not get his head behind Christian Bolanos' dangerous free-kick.
Navas was called on again to keep out Depay's left-footed shot towards the near post and in the 38th minute, he palmed away Sneijder's curled free-kick towards the far post.
Seconds later, Navas rushed off his line to deny Van Persie following Robben's through-ball as the teams went to half-time with the score at 0-0.
Netherlands kept up the pressure after the break but the Ticos defended deeply.
On the hour mark, Campbell demanded a penalty after being nudged in the area by Martins Indi but his appeal was waved away.
Five minutes later Giancarlo Gonzalez's flying header from Bolanos' free-kick went over the bar.
Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto made his first substitution one minute later with Marco Urena replacing Campbell.
With 15 minutes remaining, Vlaar headed Sneijder's free-kick just over the bar.
Costa Rica then suffered a blow with Gamboa stretchered off and having to be replaced by David Myrie.
Netherlands came closer than ever when Sneijder's free-kick hit the post with Navas beaten.
Two minutes later, there was a scramble in the Costa Rica area and the ball fell to Van Persie but his close-range effort was repelled by Navas.
Van Persie then missed a golden chance to put his team ahead when he failed to get a touch on Sneijder's fantastic cross towards the far post.
The last chance of regulation fell again to Van Persie after Daley Blind's cross eluded three teammates. Tejeda, on the line, was able to divert his shot straight upwards and off the bar, with Stefan de Vrij eventually running the loose ball out of play.
Netherlands continued to press forward in extra time and in the 94th minute Vlaar's header from Sneijder's corner was saved by Navas.
Van Gaal brought on Klaas Jan Huntelaar for Martins Indi at the start of the second period of extra time.
In the 115th minute, Costa Rica earned their first corner of the match but failed to cause any danger.
Two minutes later they finally had an effort on target, with Urena's shot saved by Cillessen.
At the other end, Netherlands were denied by the woodwork for the third time in the game when Sneijder's curled attempt hit the bar.
Krul had been warming up on the sidelines and was called on in stoppage time in place of Cillessen, who was at the centre of the celebrations as his replacement's two saves saw the Dutch through.
Borges, Gonzalez and Bolanos did manage to beat Krul but Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder and Kuyt's successful kicks were enough for Netherlands.