Louis van Gaal’s penchant to pull moves from his extensive book of trick plays has seen the stock of the inbound Manchester United boss soar even higher ahead of his taking over at Old Trafford.
Whatever the tactical conundrum the World Cup has posed, the decorated Dutchman stocked the solution and it was often one that not even his closest allies could have forecast.
But his decision to send Ron Vlaar up to take the first penalty of their semi-final shootout with Argentina finally caused the explosion that blew the windows on the old professor’s lab.
Concrete Ron was sent forth on the premise of sky-high confidence brought about by being ‘the best player on the park’ against the Albiceleste in LVG’s view.
Completely disregarding the fact that the Aston Villa man is an awful penalty taker proved costly and as a result of his and Wesley Sneijder’s misses, the Netherlands must now duke it with an emotionally-shattered Brazil in the third-place play-off, which they’re priced at 21/10 to win.
The former Bayern Munchen and Barcelona boss isn’t alone in seeing his shootout brainwaves backfire.
Here are a couple more mishaps:
Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal Euro 2012 Quarter Final
Iberian hostilities were renewed in Donetsk when the European Selecao tackled the reigning kings of the continent.
After a goalless 120 minutes, the lottery of penalties would determine the semi-finalist.
Portugal opted to summon the services of centre-halves Pepe and Bruno Alves prior to calling on the Real Madrid superstar, who was reserved for last.
Fourth taker Alves spurned his spot-kick and Spanish opposite number Cesc Fabregas converted, rendering the near-guaranteed goal Ronaldo would’ve bagged redundant.
Jamie Carragher – England World Cup 2006 Quarter Final
An alleged specialist from 12 yards, Liverpool favourite ‘Carra’ was brought on with seconds remaining of the Three Lions’ tempestuous last-eight affair with the Portuguese.
Two of the three to precede him failed to dispatch, but Ricardo’s palming of Carragher’s effort sealed England’s elimination.
It was a fate Sven-Goran Eriksson could have surely foretold with a brief glance at his record of five goals in 737 appearances for the Merseysiders.
John Terry – Chelsea Champions League 2007/08 Final
With attacking aficionados Salomon Kalou and Nicolas Anelka waiting in the wings, as well as dependable Michael Essien, the decision to hand skipper JT final spot-kick responsibility initially struck as odd.
The suspicion was confirmed when it materialised that he’d be taking it in his designer loafers.
His slip and subsequent miss allowed Man Utd to salvage a shootout they were poised to lose and claim Europe’s top prize.