With the lottery of a penalty shootout looming, it’s not uncommon for managers to throw on one of their more astute spot-kick takers, but pitching in a goalkeeper is a move extracted straight from the dust-shrouded playbook of alternative approaches.
Louis van Gaal has exemplified a willingness to venture off the beaten tactical track on several occasions this World Cup, but his decision to bring on Tim Krul for the Netherlands’ quarter final shootout with Costa Rica ranks up there with his most daring dabbles in the divergent to date.
The risk was rewarded as the Newcastle stopper saved two penalties to help the Dutch book a spot in the semi-final with Argentina, which they’re priced at 2/1 to win.
Determining the relevance of the switch is impossible – regular number one Jasper Cillessen may well have repelled the Costa Ricans’ spot-kicks – but the fact the decision paid off, combined with its esoteric nature, ranks the switch alongside the best substitutions ever made.
Here are three more game-changing alterations to consider:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on for Andy Cole in 1999 Champions League final
Manchester United called upon the Norwegian marksman’s services with Bayern Munchen ten minutes away from victory.
In the depths of stoppage time Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision was vindicated when Solskjaer converted the match-winning goal from close range after fellow bench buddy Teddy Sheringham had levelled but seconds earlier.
Nigel De Jong on for Samir Nasri in Newcastle vs Manchester City
A Citizens midfield chocked full of creative goodness couldn’t crowbar a way through the Toon’s backline as they chased three paramount points in search of their maiden Premier League crown.
Roberto Mancini’s call to throw in anchorman Nigel the Young in place of locksmith Nasri, then, undoubtedly had Blue Moonies doubting the IQ of their manager.
Such doubts proved premature, for his ploy was to free up Yaya Toure to maraud at his discretion and just eight minutes later the Ivorian was on the scoresheet.
Sylvain Wiltord and David Trezeguet on in the Euro 2000 final
World Champions France’s quest to conquer Europe came perilously close to failure with Italy taking a 55th-minute lead and hanging on to it until injury time.
Former Arsenal star Wiltord, introduced promptly after the Azzurri went ahead, salvaged the game for Les Bleus, before Trezeguet hammered home the extra-time Golden Goal to complete the comeback.