Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul has told De Telegraaf is ecstatic to be in the semifinals 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 shootout against Costa Rica after a goalless draw over 120 minutes in Saturday's quarterfinal in Salvador.
"Tonight I have realised a dream,'' Krul said. "What I've experienced is an incredible emotion.
"[Netherlands coach Louis] van Gaal had warned me. It was something prepared and I knew that I would have this chance.''
Van Gaal promised Jasper Cillessen -- who, unlike Krul, was not told of the planned change for the shootout -- that he remains his first choice for the semifinal.
"There is no question about who will start next game, it will be Cillessen,'' he said. "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 shootout sharp.
"There was only one team that deserved to go to the semifinals and it was us. If you work hard you go very far.''
Netherlands, 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.''
Navas lamented his team's elimination from the World Cup but believes they have done their nation proud.
Los Ticos had never reached the quarterfinal stages of the competition and had gone unbeaten in Brazil before losing 4-3 on penalties in Salvador.
"We lost everything in a penalty shootout and we go home sad but with our heads held high,'' Navas said to Costa Rica newspaper CRhoy.com. "It's hard but this is life.''
Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana saw their spot-kicks saved by Krul while the Dutch converted all of their attempts.
"We cannot blame anyone because to be there at that time is not easy,'' Navas said. "Our rivals did their job in the penalty shootout and we didn't.''
Navas was named as FIFA's man of the match for the third time in this tournament after the Levante goalkeeper again came up with a string of good saves to keep his side in the game.
"One just tries to help, to do a good job,'' the 27-year-old said. "I thank God.
"I always try to make sure that no ball goes in and the posts certainly helped us. Fortunately, Netherlands didn't score throughout the game.''