Van Gaal: ‘Two Dutch Players Refused To Take First Penalty’

The Netherlands exited the World Cup last night at the hands of Argentina, who won 4-2 on penalties…

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Two Dutch players refused to take a penalty in last night’s World Cup semi-final with Argentina, with the Netherlands going on to lose the shoot-out 4-2 after the game finished goalless.

The Daily Mirror have revealed that two players turned down the offer to take the first Dutch penalty, which was instead left to central defender Ron Vlaar.

Dutch manager Louis van Gaal otherwise used the same penalty takers as he did in his team’s quarter-final with Costa Rica, with Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt taking spot kick’s two, three and four. Robin van Persie, who took the first kick against Costa Rica, had already been substituted in the semi-final, after feeling ill before the match.

The Mirror does not name the players who turned down the chance to take a kick, although one of them is likely to be Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who replaced Van Persie at the start of extra time.

Aston Villa centre-half Vlaar, who had enjoyed a sterling performance during the match itself, bravely stepped forward, but struck a poor penalty that was one of two saved by Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

Sneijder also saw his penalty well stopped by Romero, who became an instant national hero as he took his country to a first World Cup final since 1990, a final that they lost to West Germany.

Van Gaal also confirmed that he would have brought on Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul for the shootout, as he did against Costa Rica, had he not been forced into withdrawing Van Persie and making his final substitution. First choice stopper Jasper Cillessen, who has never saved a penalty in his professional career, got close to two of the Argentina spot kicks, but couldn’t keep them out.

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