They needed 120 minutes and penalties, but Arjen Robben and the Netherlands managed to outlast Costa Rica and advance to the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup. They will take on Lionel Messi and Argentina.
Former Bayern Munich manager Louis Van Gaal brought on backup goalkeeper Tim Krul just before the end of extra time for the penalty shootout, and it paid off quite well. The Newcastle goalkeeper saved two penalties to give his team the victory in the shootout.
As for Arjen Robben, the Bayern winger had a fine performance on the day. He pestered the Ticos backline all match long, and he came close to scoring several times. Wesley Sneijder hit the post and the crossbar, while Robin Van Persie tripped over his own feet on at least one occasion. Costa Rica were clearly targeting penalties, and for a while, you really got the feeling that they were going to figure out a way to steal this one away from the Dutch.
Robben and the Dutch will have their hands full in the semifinal against Argentina. Michael Ballack made the argument on ESPN that the Netherlands has been relying on Robben more than Argentina has been relying on Messi thus far in the World Cup, and I think he might be right.
What did you think of Robben's performance tonight?