Brazil 2014: Day 25

Day 25 of the Brazil World Cup. The big news was that Holland managed to win a penalty shoot out. Two games played yesterday, so we now know the semi-final line-up.

Results for Saturday 5th July – Quarter Finals
Argentina                                 1-0                   Belgium
Higuaín 8′
Ref: Nicola Rizzoli
Att: 68,551

Netherlands 0-0 Costa Rica. Netherlands win 4-3 on penalties
Ref: Ravshan Irmatov
Att: 51,179

Estadio Nacional

Semi-final fixtures
8 July – Brazil v Germany, kick of at 9pm BST , live on BBC and to be played at the Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte

9 July – Netherlands v Argentina, kick of at 9pm BST , live on ITV and to be played at the Arena de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo

FIFA have not yet announced the appointments of referees and his assistants for the semi-finals yet.

Terceira Ponte, Brasilia

The Holland Goalkeeper substitutions
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal made a brave decision in replacing first Jasper Cillessen in goal with Newcastle United’s Tim Krul just before the end of the second half of extra time. It turned out to be a genious decision as Krul went on to make 2 important penalty saves to knock out Costa Rica.

Van Gaal said:-

We told Tim that he would be the better goalkeeper for a penalty shoot-out because he’s van_gaaltaller.

We didn’t say anything to Cillessen because we didn’t want to interfere with his preparations or his concentration. However, there is no question whatsoever that Cillessen will be in the starting line-up again for the next match. It was just that in this case we felt Krul was the better option and he proved us right. He went the right way on every penalty.

Krul’s explaining his strategy to unnerve the opposition said to

It’s surreal, I can’t describe it at the moment. Seeing the boys run towards me: I’ve seen that so many times on TV after goalkeepers save penalties and win the game. That it’s me tonight in a World Cup quarter-final is something surreal and I don’t think it’ll sink in for a couple of days.”

I watched them [Costa Rica] against Greece and studied them and I told the players that I knew where they were going to shoot to make them a bit nervous. Maybe it worked. It happened before when I played against Frank Lampard: I told him that I knew and I saved it. I just tried that again. I’m so happy it worked today.


Injury News

Brazil and Chelsea midfielder Willian is confident that he will be fit to play in the  semi-final against Germany despite picking up a knock in training. The 25-year-old explained in a press conference at Brazil’s base in Teresopolis.:-

I am feeling great. I was hurt on my left side in training yesterday (Saturday) and it bothers me a bit but it is nothing significant and it won’t stop me training today,” the 25-year-old Chelsea player said in a press conference at Brazil’s base in Teresopolis.

Neymar sets the standard for us. He is capable of deciding any game, so playing without him will be difficult. We know the quality that we have. We are all very sad at losing him but we are now even stronger after what happened and we can continue to pursue our dream.



Holland v Costa Rica
Louis van Gaal, Netherlands coach
In terms of team spirit and togetherness, this is the best group I’ve worked with. I thought we had more quality than Costa Rica and deserved to win. I don’t know how much ball possession we had, how many times we hit the woodwork and how many chances we had – in the end it’s all about scoring. We have practiced pens, I believe when you’re used to a certain way of shooting you’ll be more comfortable taking that shot.

Jorge Luis Pinto, Costa Rica coach
We’re hurt but we’re happy. When we came here many people didn’t believe in us, but during this World Cup we’ve done many beautiful things. Even though we have to leave the tournament we haven’t been beaten, even by the super-powers we came up against. This evening I thought we matched the Dutch and although we can improve on certain things, we’re making great progress. We’ve shown that we can organise ourselves, that we have good tactics and we can play football. We have left a positive and dignified impression of Costa Rican football. I’m proud of the players and so is the country. They’ve given everything they have.

Keylor Navas, Costa Rica goalkeeper and Man of the Match
This World Cup has been a great experience and we’re leaving with our heads held high. Everyone did a good job. We left everything on the pitch. Nobody likes to lose and it’s hard. We didn’t lose any game – a penalty shoot-out isn’t a defeat.

Brazil v Croatia. Arena Sao Paulo

Argentina v Belgium

Alejandro Sabella, Argentina coach
I feel really pleased for this squad, who’ve lived up to our footballing history, for all the coaching staff, for our families. I think that, in terms of the balance we showed and the football we played, it was our best match so far. Our performance was excellent tactically, strategically and in how a team should behave, with team-mates putting themselves on the line for each other. What’s more, we were able to bounce back after [Angel] Di Maria had to go off, and he was a very big loss. We’ve achieved our minimum objective, which was to reach the last four, but we want more. That’s what we’ve come for.

Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina striker and Man of the Match
I feel incredibly happy, and I’d like to share that happiness with my family and the whole of Argentina. Ever since the first game I’ve been saying that I wasn’t worried, that my first goal would come, and fortunately it came at a crucial time. It’s been a long time since Argentina reached the semi-finals and I’m happy it’s this group of players that managed it, because they deserve it. Now we want to keep going and reach the Final.

Marc Wilmots, Belgium coach
Argentina didn’t wow us. They looked quite an ordinary side to me, but they used their experience well. They started as favourites, scored an early goal and then knew how to handle being in front, by stopping us getting any momentum going. We’ve got lessons to learn: at tournaments like this you pay heavily for little mistakes, and sometimes you’ve got to be smarter than your opponents. Today we tried everything but it didn’t work out. In any case, I don’t see this as a disappointing result, there’s no shame in losing to Argentina in the quarter-finals. You have to focus on the positives: this team have played well and have had recognition for that. It’s been a good tournament.