The Hague (AFP) - Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal has revealed two of his players refused to step up to take the first penalty in Wednesday's 4-2 World Cup semi-final shoot-out loss to Argentina.
"I asked two players ahead of Vlaar to take the first penalty," van Gaal told Dutch news agency ANP.
"They refused. Vlaar in my view was our best player. Unfortunately he didn't score," the Manchester United-bound coach added.
Unlike in the quarter-finals against Costa Rica, the Dutch fell down in the penalty shootout, with both Vlaar -- who played a brilliant game until then -- and veteran Wesley Sneijder failing to score against Romero.
"Our penalties against Costa Rica were incredible. That should have given us confidence," said van Gaal.
"You have to maximise the first penalty shot," he added.
"But I've already used my three substitutes at that time."
"In the end Romero stopped two penalties," he said.
Argentina face Germany in Sunday's final while van Gaal's Holland take on Brazil in the third place play-off 24 hours earlier.