Argentina defeats Netherlands on penalties to book a mouth-watering clash against Germany in the final of the World Cup.
After the Germany-Brazil clash produced eight goals in the first semi-final, Netherlands and Argentina played out a tight and tactical encounter last night – almost to restore balance after the madness of the previous game. Both teams boasted of having some of the finest attackers in the World, yet it was the defenders and holding midfielders who grabbed the spot light during the game.
It was a cagey affair to say the least. Both Argentina and Netherlands looked assured and organised at the back and very few chances were created throughout the match. In fact a total of only five shots were on target last night. The best moment of the first half arrived when Javier Mascherano produced an amazing last ditch tackle on Arjen Robben to deny him the chance to shoot on goal.
The Barcelona midfielder was arguably the best player on the pitch and dominated the midfield for Argentina. Netherlands defenders Ron Vlaar and Stefan de Vrij both had a good match as well as Lionel Messi failed to have a decisive impact on the match.
The match eventually went to extra-time, followed by penalties. There was no Tim Krul on display this time around as Louis van Gaal had to use all of his three substitutes.
Despite a good performance, Ron Vlaar’s night ended in disappointment as he stepped up to take Netherlands’ first penalty and his shot was saved by Sergio Romero. Wesley Sneijder was the next man to miss his penalty kick as Romero produced another brilliant save. Former Liverpool midfielder Maxi Rodriguez scored from the decisive penalty kick to put Argentina through to the final for the fifth time in their history.
Alejandro Sabella was delighted with the win and promised that they will give their best against Germany in the final.
“It’s a great joy. It was a very difficult, very close match.
“I’m happy. We’re in the final. We’ll see what we can do with one day less recovery time (compared to Germany) and after penalties.
“But we’ll give everything: humility, hard work, 100 per cent. We’ll see if that’s enough for us to win.” – The Argentina manager said after the match.
Penalty-hero Sergio Romero was expressed his happiness at having pulled out those two massive saves in the end.
“Enjoy the moment, we will enjoy it and tomorrow we will start working for the final.
“I feel immense happiness, I’m really happy with everything. (Penalties) are a question of luck, that is the reality. I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well.
“Hope has been intact since day one.” – Romero said.