SALVADOR, Brazil – Louis van Gaal says his Netherlands team is the most driven group of players he has ever worked with.
That's quite a compliment coming from a 62-year-old coach who has won the Champions League with Ajax and the Spanish and German leagues with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
It showed Saturday night in Salvador when the players battled unsuccessfully for 120 minutes to break down Costa Rica's stubborn defense before last-minute substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul went on as a one-man special team and saved two spot kicks in the shootout while four Dutch veterans stepped in and buried theirs.
Van Gaal says, "Everyone who has been called in has trained really hard. The way we took our penalties says a lot about how good this team is."