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WORLD CUP: Netherlands need penalty shoot-out to see off Costa Rica

World Cup Quarter Final Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica AET Netherlands win 4-3 on penalties The Costa Rica dream is over, beaten in a penalty shoot-out by the Netherlands who substituted their keeper specifically for penalties and then saved twice to send his country through the to the semi-finals.

For long periods this game seem destined to end scoreless for despite the Netherlands having the quality Costa Rica had the organisation which saw them have the joint best defensive record at the World Cup.

The Costa Rican's cause was helped by the tactics of the Dutch who were slow and laboured in their build-up play allowing their opponents time to regroup. The Netherlands had plenty of possession but only as the game reached the later stages did they really cause the Ticos any problems.

Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder had opportunities in the first half for the Dutch, but found keeper Keylor Navas in imperious form. Costa Rica looked to set pieces to open their account but a lack of urgency from both teams made it less than enthralling.

And so it continued after the break with the Netherlands only injecting some pace into their game in the final quarter and suddenly chances began to arrive.

Sneijder hit a free kick against the cross bar, then turned provider for Robin van Persie in the final minute only for the Manchester United forward to completely mishit his effort from six yards.

Then in injury time the Costa Rican goal enjoyed a moment of good fortune as Daley Blind sent over a low cross which caused confusion. The ball found its way to van Persie, whose shot hit Yeltsin Tejeda on the line and then deflected onto the crossbar before bouncing to safety.

Sneijder again hit the woodwork with a dipping shot as the Netherlands looked to settle the tie in extra time but then were stunned as Costa Rica twice went close to taking a shock lead.

Substitute Marcos Urena ran at the Dutch rearguard, beat three players, only to see keeper Jasper Cillessen save with his legs. More controversially they were denied what seemed an obvious penalty as the same player went to ground under a clumsy challenge from Ron Vlaar.

In the final minute of extra time Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal substituted his keeper for Tim Krul. And the Newcastle custodian did not disappoint in the penalty shoot out, saving twice as the Dutch scored all their four efforts giving them a World Cup semi-final tie against Argentina.

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Ian Ferris
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Ian Ferris

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