Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal says Tim Krul's greater height and reach was the reason he sent the Newcastle keeper on for the World Cup quarter-final penalty shootout win over Costa Rica.
Krul, who is 6ft 4in (1.93m), replaced the 6ft 2in (1.87m) Jasper Cillessen with seconds remaining in the 0-0 draw.
Krul then saved two spot-kicks as the Dutch won the shootout 4-3.
"We all thought Tim was the best keeper to stop penalties," said Van Gaal. "He is taller and has a longer reach."
The Manchester United manager added: "It worked out. That was beautiful. I'm a bit proud of that."
The Netherlands, the only team in the final four not to have won the tournament, will play Argentina in Sao Paulo on Wednesday for a place in the final.
Brazil will face Germany in the first semi-final on Tuesday.
Van Gaal, who will take over at Manchester United after the World Cup, did not tell first-choice keeper Cillessen he might be taken off if the game went to a shootout after extra time.
However, Krul was informed he might be called upon.
Krul, whose saves from Bryan Ruiz and Michael Umana were his only two touches of the ball, told BBC Sport: "I psyched them out. You try to do everything you can without being too aggressive. I tried to get in their minds.
"It is something I have dreamed about since I was a little boy - to have that moment when you make the crucial save and then all the boys are running towards you."
Despite Krul's match-winning saves he will be back on the bench for the semi-final, with Ajax's Cillessen in goal.
"There is no question about who will start the next game, it will be Cillessen, but we felt Krul was the better choice here," said Van Gaal.
Costa Rica midfielder Celso Borges said of the goalkeeping change: "I never saw something like that. But they were right, he did his job."
Krul tried to speak to the Costa Rica players before they took their penalties, indicating he knew where the ball would go, and the goalkeeper dived the right way for each spot-kick, saving two of the five efforts he faced.
Unheralded Costa Rica, playing in the World Cup finals for only the fourth time, had finished top of a group that included Uruguay, Italy and England before beating Greece on penalties in the last 16 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
"I am very proud that we shocked the world," said Ruiz, the Fulham striker who ended last season on loan at PSV Eindhoven. "We did not lose in the World Cup and we go back to Costa Rica with our heads up."