Krul The Hero

New Zealand football fans may be the first to see Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul post World Cup after his penalty saving heroics put the Dutch team into the World Cup semi-finals today.

New Zealand football may be be the first to see Netherlands goalkeeper Tim Krul post World Cup after his penalty saving heroics put the Dutch team into the World Cup semi-finals today.

With the Netherlands and Costa Rica locked at 0-0 and a penalty shoot- out looming, canny manager Louis van Gaal replaced goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with Krul in the last seconds of extra time.

Krul, who will be in goal for Newcastle United during the Football United Tour, pulled off two brilliant saves to give the Netherlands a 4-3 win on penalties and a place in the semi-finals.

Perhaps it was the imposing presence and air of confidence that persuaded van Gaal to make the change, which had been pre-planned should the match go to a penalty shoot-out.

Whatever the thought behind it, the move worked and van Gaal and Krul will go down in the folklore of Dutch football after surely the shortest and most spectacular appearance in World Cup history.

“That is not normal,“ Krul said.

“You sit the whole match on the bench and then you have to go and save the penalties. I don't know what I can say.

'You sit on the edge and think it might go to extra-time and penalties and you have to take the team from the quarter-finals to the semis,' he added.

'It's a dream, it's unbelievable.”

Newcastle United play Sydney FC at Dunedin-s Forsyth Barr Stadium on July 22 and meet the Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on July 26.