World Cup Brazil: Argentina in final after penalty thriller with The Netherlands
By Frans van Hees | www.AboutBrasil.com | Week 28, July 2014
Rio de Janeiro — The surprising
Dutch soccer team of Louis van Gaalran into an Argentine wall in the semifinal of World Cup Soccer 2014 in Brazil. Next Saturday they will play the ridiculous 3rd place match against devastated host team Brasil in capital Brasilia.
Argentinawill face Germany in the final in Rio de Janeiro next Sunday.
The unnerving 'game of chess' lasted 120 minutes and ended in a blood-curdling penalty shootout, which became a drama for the Dutch.
Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder failed from the penalty spot, which after five consecutive victories brought an end to the Brazilian adventure of The Netherlands.
"We start with our strongest line-up. At least, for me," Louis van Gaal said an hour before kick-off of the second
World Cup 2014 semifinal. Van Gaal welcomed the miraculous comeback of Nigel de Jong and also Van Persie and Vlaar, who were respectively sick and slightly injured earlier this week, were ready for service. In the team of Argentina Rojo returned from suspension and Lucas Biglia was also present in the first team.
Caution was the most important thing for both teams in the first half. In the 13th minute Sneijder fired the first shot, without much danger. A minute later Cillessen could save after a free kick from Messi and Garay headed over after a corner. The first half ended without any real goal chances.
In the second half Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi was substituted by his Feyenoord team mate Daryl Janmaat. The soccer match still did not get exciting. Both star players,
Arjen Robben for The Netherlands and Lionel Messi for Argentina, were hardly involved.
The best chance for Argentina was when Higuain was not offside, but he kicked the ball in the sidenetting. One minute from time, Robben suddenly was able to score, but he waited too long and Mascherano could tackle in extremis. 0-0 after 93 minutes: extra time was necessary.
Early in the first half of extra time, Van Gaal claimed his third substitution. Huntelaar replaced the disappointing captain Van Persie. A new possible penalty stunt with Tim Krul would not be able this time. There was a bit more space but there were hardly any more goal chances. The Dutch tried forcing the winning goal, but it was obvious the bland Argentines were aiming for a penalty shootout.
For the second time this World Cup tournament, the Dutch had to go to the penalty spot. This time with Cillessen in the goal, sixteen penalties against and zero stopped. Also against Argentina in the most important match of his career he could not do it.
Sergio Romero, goalie of Argentinaand trained by Van Gaal in the past, could. He became the Man of the Match by stopping penalties of Vlaar and Sneijder. For the fifth time in soccer history, Argentina goes through to the final where Germany awaits.
Matches & Standings Final rounds - FIFA World Cup 2014