By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Tim Krul believes his World Cup experience will drive him to even greater heights at Newcastle United, having returned to Tyneside this week.
Despite playing just a handful of minutes on the biggest stage of all in Brazil this summer, the Dutch goalkeeper was his nation's hero, coming off the bench in the final seconds of extra-time to save two penalties in a quarter-final shoot-out victory over Costa Rica.
The Netherlands were then knocked out by Argentina from the spot in the semis - although Krul played no part in that game.
But, having tasted that euphoric high, United's number one is determined for more. And now back with the Magpies after an extended summer break, he wants to achieve it at St. James' Park.
"I didn't think (manager Louis) van Gaal would change a winning team so I was just grafting away at training, day in, day out, to try and put the pressure on," explained the stopper, as United get set for this weekend's Schalke 04 Cup in Germany.
"Then that moment came.
"Before we went to the stadium, the goalkeeping coach pulled me over and told me there was a big chance I would be used if it went to penalties.
"At the time I thought it would never happen but as the game went on and we missed chances, I started to get itchy. Then, when the moment came, it was the best ten minutes of my life, other than my daughter being born.
"It was something truly surreal and something I will never forget.
"It gave me a taste of the biggest stage and that moment will now push me even further than I have ever been in my career so far.
"I can't wait for the season to start now because I really want to get back out there and feel that high again."
Holland eventually finished third in the World Cup - a far cry from some predictions that they would struggle to make it past the tournament's group stage.
And, although he only featured in that one, dramatic match, Krul was delighted just to be part of the successful Dutch squad.
"It's what you dream of as a little boy, to go to the World Cup, and the experience didn't disappoint. It was amazing," recalled the 26-year-old.
"We surprised everybody. Before we went, people were asking what we were going to do there and would we even make it out of the group.
"So to start by beating Spain - the champions - 5-1 was massive and gave everybody a huge lift and the confidence to push on, which we did.
"We had a fantastic group together, amazing morale, and the mix of experience and young lads worked really well."
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