They came up just short.
Tiny Costa Rica were a penalty kick shootout away from making the World Cup semifinal, but back-up Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul, who came on just before the final whistle, registered two saves as the Netherlands won 4-3 on PKs to advance to a semifinal match-up against Argentina.
Former MLS player Michael Umana, who was the Ticos' hero in the penalty kick shootout against Greece, was stopped by Krul on the decisive kick.
The 120 minutes at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador finished 0-0 as an orderly Costa Rica side frustrated the Netherlands, who hit the woodwork on three different occasions. But the Ticos nearly stole the result with their only shot on goal with three minutes left in extra time.
Mike Tyson had predicted that a surprise was a possibility:
KRUL FATE: The Dutch saved their last substitution for just before the final whistle, bringing on Krul for starter Jasper Cillessen. An unconventional move, but another one that worked out for Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal.
SLOW START: The finish may have been exhilarating but it was a slog to get there. Caution was the name of the game in the first half, with the Dutch coming closest on just a handful of opportunities.
SUPER NAVAS: If Costa Rica's star goalkeeper had a shoulder issue from the Round of 16 vs. Greece, he didn't show it on Saturday. In the first half he made four stunning stops (21st minute on Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, 29th minute kick save on Memphis DePay and a 39th minute stop on a Sneijder free kick). He would emerge as Man of the Match.
COSTA RICA CHANCES: The Ticos had a half-chance in the 34th minute and then in the 60th minute Joel Campbell appealed for a penalty when he was bumped from behind by Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi. It was one of Campbell's few dangerous moments before coming off shortly after.
Campbell be diving and not he first time too aka besler #usmnt— Footie (@USMNTFan0941) July 5, 2014
LOCK-IT-DOWN 2ND HALF: Navas didn't have to do as much in the second half although he had to come up with a big stop in the 84th minute. And when Navas wasn't called into action, he got the help of the left post on a Sneijder free kick in the 80th minute.
Costa Rica's back line is the real clockwork on this match. Incredible precision with the offside trap.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) July 5, 2014
The Costa Rican backline is a thing of ordered beauty.— Slide Rule Pass (@SlideRulePass) July 5, 2014
"THE MISS": The Dutch version belongs to Robin Van Persie. In the 88th minute he was caught between two minds and whiffed on an inviting cross right in front of goal. But then he had the chance to make up for it three minutes into stoppage time. This time his point-blank shot was cleared off the line and onto the crossbar by Costa Rica's Yeltsin Tejeda.
EXTRA TIME: The script was unchanged in the extra session. Navas came up with another big save on a Ron Vlaar set-piece header in the 94th minute and then Louis Van Gaal brought on Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the second extra-time period, finally resorting to their Plan B. But Plan B didn't get a goal, but got a punch in instead.
This is how Van Gaal sees Huntelaar pic.twitter.com/0Uon2mxh2N— Football Funnys (@FootballFunnys) July 5, 2014
FINAL SALVO: Both teams had one final attempt to resolve the match with less than five minutes remaining. But Marcos Urena couldn't beat Jasper Cillessen in the 117th minute and Sneijder was foiled by the crossbar. The Urena shot was Costa Rica's only one in 120 minutes.