Louis Van Gaal showed off his cajones in Salvador last night to guide Holland through to the World Cup semi-finals. After 120 minutes and 53 seconds of football between the Dutch and Costa Rica, and with the teams deadlocked at 0-0 and moments away from a penalty shoot-out, Louis Van Gaal swapped his goalkeepers.
Off came Ajax keeper Jasper Cillessen and on came Newcastle shot-stopper Tim Krul, in a move LVG says he had already planned. To say it was ballsy is an understatement. Tim Krul hadn’t touched a ball at the World Cup and was now under extreme pressure to keep his side in the tournament. His penalty record at Newcastle isn’t even that spectacular – saving two of 20 in his time at St James’. But Louis Van Gaal made the Costa Rica players think that Krul was a penalty expert. He had Krul research the Costa Rica players’ penalty techniques and he thought Krul’s extra reach would be an advantage. Therein lies the genius.
Bryan Ruiz had already seen his penalty saved low to the bottom-right corner by Krul, and the Dutch had scored all four of their efforts. Up stepped Michael Umaña and Krul went the same way to send Holland through.
Holland and Manchester United fans went into party-mode, and there was more good news for United fans after it was revealed Frans Hoek, the Dutch goalkeeping coach who masterminded the switch, is coming with Van Gaal to Old Trafford. Krul went the right way for every single spot kick and Holland now have a semi-final clash with Argentina to look forward to on Wednesday.
Twitter exploded with praise for Louis Van Gaal, however this GIF of some suspect dad-dancing from one of his many open-top bus celebrations was a clear highlight.
Let’s hope we see some more managerial genius and awkward dancing at Old Trafford next season.
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