Van Gaal
Louis van Gaal is not too keen on the third-place playoffReuters

Tim Krul's penalty-saving skills could not be put to the test again as the Netherlands were defeated by Argentina in the semifinal penalty shootout on Wednesday, with Jasper Cillessen in goal.

Louis van Gaal was left without any substitutions after he took off Robin van Persie in the second period of extra time and brought on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The manager later revealed he rued the fact that he ran out of substitutions.

"If I could have substituted Jasper I would have done, but I'd already used three substitutes so couldn't do that," quoted the Dutch coach.

In their quarterfinal against Costa Rica, van Gaal - in a rare move - substituted no.1 goalkeeper Cillessen and brought on Krul in the dying seconds of the second period of extra time. And Krul responded brilliantly as he kept out two Costa Rican penalties and won the game for his country.

A previous booking for Bruno Martins Indi forced van Gaal to take him off and replace him with Daryl Janmaat at the break.

"I subbed Janmaat for Indi because he had a yellow card already and was often too late and wasn't executing well," said the new Manchester United coach.

An injury to Nigel de Jong, and van Persie suffering from the effects of exhaustion, left van Gaal without a choice later.

"I didn't want to take a risk on Nigel De Jong being injured, and he was the free man in midfield and Jordy Clasie can play going forward better than Nigel. I subbed van Persie because he was exhausted," remarked van Gaal.

In perhaps what is a cruel twist of fate, Argentine keeper Sergio Romero improved his penalty-saving skills under the Dutchman's tutelage. van Gaal who had coached AZ Alkmaar between 2005-2009 had Romero in his side.

"I taught Romero how to stop penalties [at Alkmaar], so that hurts" The Guardian quoted van Gaal.

The Dutch have come in for some praise and van Gaal spoke with pride about their campaign. They began the World Cup with a thumping 5-1 win over defending champions Spain.

"We had a fantastic tournament, as the Brazilian journalists have expressed. No one expected us to make it through the group, and after that we defeated Mexico, who are not easy to beat. Argentina are a top country with top players. Penalties are a matter of luck. It's the most terrible scenario to lose on penalties. If anything, we were the better team, at least equal," the outgoing coach said.