Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal says two of his players refused to take the first penalty in their World Cup semi-final shootout defeat by Argentina.
Defender Ron Vlaar stepped up but Sergio Romero saved his kick. Argentina went on to win the shootout 4-2 and will face Germany in Sunday’s final.
“I asked two players to take the first ball before ending up with Vlaar,” said Van Gaal
“I thought he was the best player on the pitch so should have confidence.
He added: “It just goes to show it’s not easy scoring in a shootout.
“It’s the most terrible scenario, to lose on penalties. At the very least we were equal with them, if not the better team. It’s a big disappointment.”
Van Gaal was forced to turn to Aston Villa centre-back Vlaar after he had substituted Robin Van Persie
His low effort was stopped by Romero, who then denied Wesley Sneijder as the Dutch missed two of their four penalties.
“Winning on penalties in your previous match should give you confidence. We took those penalties in an incredible way against Costa Rica,” said Van Gaal, whose side now face Brazil in Saturday’s third-place play-off in Brasilia.
He added: “In a tournament you shouldn’t have players play a match for third or fourth place.
“There’s only one award that counts, and that’s being world champion.”
Against Costa Rica, Van Gaal brought on substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul in place of Jasper Cillessen for the shootout – a tactic which worked as Krul saved two spot-kicks.
But he was unable to call on the Newcastle player again, having already made his three substitutions after withdrawing Van Persie in favour of Klaas Jan Huntelaar.