Substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul saved two shots, including Costa Rica's final attempt, to help the Netherlands prevail 4-3 in a dramatic penalty shootout and advance to the World Cup semifinals.
The quarterfinal victory in the light rain at Salvador's Arena Fonte Nova sends the Dutch to next Wednesday's semifinal in Sao Paulo against Argentina, which defeated Belgium 1-0 earlier in the day in Brasilia.
In the shootout, Celso Borges scored first for Costa Rica and Robin Van Persie just beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas with his rolling shot inside the right post. Krul easily stopped Bryan Ruiz's weak penalty and Arjen Robben gave the Dutch a 2-1 lead by calmly hitting the upper left corner.
Giancarlo Gonzalez evened the shootout at 2-2 for Costa Rica. Wesley Sneijder successfully went right to give Netherlands the lead back at 3-2, and Christian Bolanos also went right to knot things again at 3-3.
But after Dirk Kuyt grazed the left post with his penalty to make it 4-3 Netherlands, Krul read Michael Umana's penalty perfectly, diving to his left to punch it away. In the final seconds of extra time, Dutch coach Luis van Gaal made a substitution purely for penalty shootout purposes, replacing starter Jasper Cillessen with Krul.
Both teams had great chances to win it late in the final minutes of extra time. In the 117th minute, Marcos Urena nearly won it for Costa Rica, rounding the Netherlands defense to unleash a rocket that Cillessen kept out with his legs. Two minutes later, Sneijder's curling shot beat Navas but crashed off the cross bar. Robben's ensuing shot rebounded off a teammate in the box.
The Dutch pressed for the winning goal late in normal time. Robben nearly won a penalty kick in the 82nd minute after being taken down by Gonzalez just outside the area, but Sneijder's ensuing free kick slammed off the left post. Navas then came up big in the 84th minute by turning away Van Persie's sharp-angled shot from close range.
Van Persie wasted a golden chance in the 89th minute when Sneijder found him sprinting through the box with only the keeper in front of him. But Van Persie stumbled trying to control Sneijder's deft cross and failed to get a shot off.
Robben won a free kick at the edge of the penalty area in the second minute of stoppage time. Van Persie's free kick was punched away but that led to a hectic sequence in front of the Costa Rica goal.
Daley Blind's square ball from the left side bounced through the area and found Van Persie all alone. His left-footed shot was cleared off the line by Yeltsin Tejeda but only before ricocheting off the cross bar in a remarkable bit of good luck for Los Ticos.
Three minutes into the first period of extra time, Navas was at it again, diving to his right to punch away Ron Vlaar's shot from close range. Costa Rica and its supporters screamed for a penalty in the 98th minute when Urena went down in the box after Vlaar made contact with him.
Robben continued to be a menance to Costa Rica's defense by manufacturing scoring opportunities by himself. In the 113th minute, his left-footed shot forced Los Ticos into a hand ball but Robben's ensuing free kick hit the Costa Rica wall.
There wouldn't have been an extra 30 minutes if it wasn't for Keylor Navas. The Costa Rica goalkeeper saved all four of the Netherlands' attempts on goal, denying consecutive shots from Van Persie and Sneijder in the 21st minute, kicking away Memphis Depay's shot inside the box in the 29th minute and diving to keep out Sneijder's curling free kick in the 39th minute.