A terrible 0-0 draw without any real chances, but Argentina go through to the World Cup final, beating the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout, with Lionel Messi scoring his kick, while Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder were denied by a fantastic Sergio Romero.
It’s hard to remember chances from this match. Rodrigo Palacio messing up an excellent opportunity in extra time with mistimed header. Arjen Robben blocked by Javier Mascherano in the final minute of regulation, making one touch too many before reaching the goal.
Not a bad match of football, but too tactical. No team tried to press high with more than three-four players. No team pushed forward with their centre backs. Argentina relied on Lionel Messi, constantly covered by two or three players, and marking him very physically, to make something out of nothing. The same for the Dutch. Arjen Robben never ceased trying, but the Argentine defense – be it Garay, Rojo or Zabaleta, someone was always there to stop him.
Ron Vlaar took the first penalty kick for the Netherlands and missed. A terrible kick. Wesley Sneijder, coming third, didn’t take such a bad kick, but Sergio Romero pulled off a wonderful save. Lionel Messi was accurate with his penalty, but both Maxi Rodriguez and Ezequiel Garay took a different approach. Boom, powerful shot through the middle. Cillessenn touched a shot twice, but was twice too soft with his contact.
Argentina haven’t been to a World Cup final since 1990. It was West Germany then that stood in their way. In 1986 it was West Germany as well, this time bowing down in a dramatic 3-2 final at the Azteca. Lets hope the Maracana final on July 13 will have a bit more of what we saw from the first semifinal, and not from the second.