Argentina have progressed to the final of the 2014 World Cup after scoring a 4-2 penalty shootout win over the Netherlands at Arena De Sao Paulo this morning.
Neither Argentina nor Netherlands were willing to take risks in their semi-final clash and a penalty shootout looked the most likely option from very early on in the game; with superstars Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben unable to stamp their imprint on the game.
Netherlands had more possession across the 120 minutes of action, but it was Argentina who created more chance although neither side ever looked likely to score in the lead-up to the penalty shootout.
The Dutch were playing in the their second straight penalty shootout, after defeating Costa Rica in a shootout in the quarter-finals, but were unable to use goalkeeper Tim Krul because coach Louis Van Gaal had already used all of his sides substitutions.
Regular Netherlands goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was unable to replicate Krul’s shootout heroics and it was Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero that was the hero; with the 27-year-old showing great composure to save two penalties and send his side through to the 2014 World Cup final.
“We will enjoy the moment and tomorrow we will start working for the final,” Romero said after the game.
“I feel immense happiness, I’m really happy with everything.
“Penalties are a question of luck, that is the reality, but I had confidence in myself and fortunately, everything turned out well.
“Hope has been intact since day one.”
Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder both missed penalties for Netherlands, while Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez had no problems converting from the spot for Argentina.
Vlaar admitted that he was disappointed to let his side down in the shootout and said that his side simply was not able to create enough goal scoring opportunities to be any chance of winning the game in normal time.
“In the penalty I wasn’t nervous I, concentrated and it had to go in and it didn’t,” Vlaar said.
“We didn’t get that many chances.
“We could have created more chances, but we didn’t.
“We didn’t get the chance to score and that’s a shame.”
Argentina will now play the in-form Germany in the 2014 World Cup final at Estadio Do Maracana on Monday morning, while Netherlands will meet Brazil in the third place playoff at Estadio Nacional Mane Garruncha on Sunday morning.
Argentina are currently available at odds of $3.30 with Ladbrokes.com.au to win the 2014 World Cup in regular time, with Germany ($2.30) clear favourites to win their first World Cup since 1990.