Louis van Gaal caused a major stir by replacing Jasper Cillessen in the final moment of extra time, but it proved to be a masterstroke as the Magpies stopper kept out spot-kicks from Michael Umana and Bryan Ruiz to lead Oranje to a 4-3 success.
The Dutch made hard work of a clash they were heavy favourites to win with Los Ticos goalkeeper Keylor Navas, a contender for stopper of the tournament, pulling off a series of superb saves to deny Robin van Persie, Memphis Depay and Wesley Sneijder.
Oranje laboured for long periods but stepped up a gear in the last 10 minutes and should have won it in normal time.
First Wesley Sneijder's free kick from the left side of the area cannoned back off the post before he teased in a sensational cross that van Persie somehow missed from six yards out.
Costa Rica were again let off the hook in the third moment of stoppage time when van Persie saw his close-range shot deflect off the knee of Yeltsin Tejeda and onto the crossbar.
Los Ticos had a penalty shout in extra time when Marco Urena was tumbled by Bruno Martins Indi and the forward also had a shot well saved before Sneijder saw another effort come back off the bar.
The Costa Ricans were hoping to become the first CONCACAF nation to reach the last four since the USA in 1930 but it wasn't to be as Krul came off the bench to keep out two spot kicks as Netherlands held their nerve with their four attempts.
Oranje will now face Argentina in a mouth-watering semi final in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
PRE-MATCH: Dutch youth - There are two changes for Holland as Bruno Martins Indi and Memphis Depay start in what is their youngest World Cup line-up this century. For Costa Rica, Keylor Navas, a contender for goalkeeper of the tournament, recovers from a shoulder knock to take his place between the sticks. Johnny Acosta comes in for the suspended Oscar Duarte.
21' - NETHERLANDS CHANCE! A lovely move down the right sees Kuyt pick out Depay on the edge of the box who then plays in van Persie. The net should bulge but Navas makes a great save and gets up to keep out Sneijder's tame follow-up.
29' - NETHERLANDS CHANCE! Depay is sent free on the left side of the area but continues to edge wide and sees his low effort blocked by that man Navas once more. The keeper's having a splendid tournament.
39' - NETHERLANDS CHANCE! Sneijder steps up and crashes a superb 35-yard free kick towards the top left-hand corner but Navas is across to push it away. Another fine save.
62' - PENALTY SHOUT? A marauding run down the left from Diaz takes him into the area and he cuts it back to Campbell who goes down under a slight challenge from Martins Indi. Los Ticos want a spot-kick but the referee is having none of it.
65' - COSTA RICA CHANCE! Bolanos curls another superb free kick into the area where Gonzalez arrives at the far post and heads over under pressure from Vlaar.
82' - OFF THE POST! Sneijder curls a wonderful free kick on the far left of the area over the wall and against the near post with Navas beaten. So unlucky!
84' - NETHERLANDS CHANCE! Chaos in the Costa Rica area. Navas makes a poor attempt to punch clear that is seized by RVP. The Man Utd man twists and turns and makes space for a shot but sees his effort from a tight angle beaten away by the keeper.
88' - WHAT A MISS! RVP misses his kick from six yards out after Sneijder jinked in from the left and teased a quite sensational ball into the middle that just said 'bury me!' RVP didn't oblige and it's still 0-0.
90+3' - OFF THE LINE AND ONTO THE BAR! How haven't Holland scored? Blind crosses low from the right and RVP is left free at the far post where he fires a shot that hits Tejeda's knee on the line and deflects onto the bar before being cleared. Sensational!
94' - GOOD SAVE! Robben's corner is met by the head of Vlaar but Navas leaps to his right and tips it past the post.
98' - PENALTY SHOUT? Urena goes down under a challenge from Vlaar... No penalty says the referee. It looked like a good shout. Let off for Holland.
117' - COSTA RICA CHANCE! Costa Rica almost nick it as Ureña gets free in the area but sees his attempt beaten away Cillessen. SO CLOSE!
119' - OFF THE BAR! Sneijder shoots from distance and it curls against the bar with Navas beaten! How did that not go in?
120' - GOALKEEPER SUBBED?! Seconds left. Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul is coming on for the pens! Off goes Cillessen. An incredible decision by van Gaal. Will it be a masterstroke?
SAVE! CR 3-4 HOLL. Umana sees his shot saved by Krul who emerges from the bench to become the big hero! Netherlands are in the semi finals!
GOAL! CR 3-4 HOLL. Superb spot kick by Dirk Kuyt as he hammers it into the left corner. The Dutch are four for four.
GOAL! CR 3-3 HOLL. Bolanos looked anxious but he lashes it high into the left corner he is facing.
GOAL! CR 2-3 HOLL. Sneijder is as cool as you like, sending Navas to his left and putting it to the right.
GOAL! CR 2-2 HOLL. Composed stuff by Gonzalez who races up and puts it just beyond the reach of Krul.
GOAL! CR 1-2 HOLL. Robben confidently places the ball and expertly sends Navas the wrong way.
SAVE! CR 1-1 HOLL. Ruiz steps up but it's kept out by Krul, low to his left. Is this a masterstroke by van Gaal?
GOAL! CR 1-1 HOLL. RVP tucks it right in the corner as Navas comes close to getting to it.
GOAL! CR 1-0 HOLL. Borges steps up and puts it low to the left of Krul who dives the right way but can't keep it out.
Netherlands have suffered defeat only twice in 17 meetings with teams representing CONCACAF.
Memphis Depay made his first start in a competitive match for Holland, becoming the youngest Dutch player (20 years 142 days) to start a WC match since 1938, and the fourth-youngest Dutch starter in a WC match ever.
Uzbekistan official Ravshan Irmatov took charge of his ninth World Cup match, a new record.
Netherlands fielded their youngest starting line-up (26 years - 237 days) at a WC since 11 July 1998 (26-151 in a 2-1 loss against Croatia) and their sixth youngest ever.
Wesley Sneijder made his 16th World Cup appearance - a Dutch record.
Oranje kept a clean sheet in a World Cup knockout game for the first time since facing Republic of Ireland in 1994.
Costa Rica failed to become only the second team ever to win consecutive World Cup penalty shootouts (after Argentina in 1990).
This was the first time in 10 WC penalty shootouts that the team that did not take the first penalty won. The last time this happened was in 2002, when Ireland took the first penalty but Spain progressed from the round of Last 16.
For the first time in team history, Netherlands win a WC match after Extra Time (four times eliminated, one progression).
Holland reach the semi-finals at consecutive World Cups for the first time in the knockout format. They played and triumphed in semi-final group phases in 1974 and 1978.
This is the first time at the World Cup that a goalkeeper comes on as a sub solely for the penalty shootout.
(Stats courtesy of Opta and Infostrada)
TALKING POINT: Tim Krul's shoot-out triumph and van Gaal's masterstroke. The Newcastle man came off the bench in a move that stunned the watching world but fully justified his coach's decision with two saves that saw him emerge as an unlikely hero. Credit must go to van Gaal for having the bravery to make the change but spare a thought for Cillessen who had to make way. It's another substitution at this year's World Cup that made the difference and despite a laboured display, Netherlands will now believe they can go on and finally end their long wait for a World Cup triumph.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica): A man who will surely be remembered as the stopper of the tournament kept Holland at bay for long periods with a combination of good fortune, albeit via the woodwork at times, and wonderful reflexes. Sadly for him, he was upstaged by Krul in the shoot-out but was the stand-out performer of the contest during the 120 minutes.
NETHERLANDS: Cillessen 6, Vlaar 6, De Vrij 6, Martins Indi 6, Blind 6, Kuyt 6, Wijnaldum 6, Depay 6, Sneijder 8, Van Persie 6, Robben 7. Subs: Lens 6, Huntelaar 6, Krul 8.
COSTA RICA: Navas 9, Acosta 7, Gonzalez 8, Umana 7, Diaz 7, Gamboa 6, Borges 7, Tejeda 7, Bolanos 7, Campbell 6, Ruiz 6. Subs: Urena 7, Cubero 6, Myrie 6.
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Keylor Navas
- Wesley Sneijder
- Costa Rica
- Tim Krul
- Memphis Depay
- Louis van Gaal
- Jasper Cillessen
- Bryan Ruiz