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#NEDvsARG: Argentina Break Dutch Hearts On Penalties To Reach FIFA World Cup Final

May be it was written in the stars for Argentina as the South American side set up a FIFA World Cup final clash against Germany after overcoming the Netherlands 4-2 in a thrilling penalty shootout.

May be it was written in the stars for Argentina as the South American side set up a FIFA World Cup final clash against Germany after overcoming the Netherlands 4-2 in a thrilling penalty shootout.

The game had to go in to shootout as both teams failed to score at the end of regular and extra time.

This World Cup will be known for many reasons with one being that for the very first time in 26 years, a semifinal match went into penalties after no breakthrough could be found in both regular and extra time. It was goalkeeper Sergio Romero who emerged as a hero for Argentina by saving two out of four spot kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder.

Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez all scored their penalties to take Argentina in to the final against the Germans at the Rio’s Maracana Stadium Sunday. Brazil and the Netherlands will contest for the third and fourth place Saturday.

The match was a cagey affair as both sides were mainly caught up in a midfield battle.

The coaches from either side had their respective personnel organised and resiliently in shape, with crosses from deep areas providing the only real opportunities. The likes of Lionel Messi, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie were all kept very quiet thanks to some sturdy defending and man-marking.

Even though some Argentine fans would be disappointed by their little genius’ lacklustre performance; the credit was must go to Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal for keeping the Barcelona maestro silent. Without the presence of Angel Di Maria, Argentina missed a creative player on the wings.

In regular time, there was not much in the way of chances or inspiration. The first half was a battle of patience between the two teams as they sussed out each other. Both sides have managed to nullify the opposition’s key players, but sacrificed their own ability to score goals as a result. The Netherlands, like in all their previous matches, weren’t to be hurried, composedly keeping possession and biding their time.
Neither side were in a hurry, ignoring the boos and jeers from the neutrals in the crowd, who wanted to see some free-flowing and attacking football.

The Netherlands would have felt confident heading into a penalty shoot-out, given their success against Costa Rica in the quarters, but Argentina are used to playing under extreme pressure. Neither side could carve open a good opportunity, as solid defending continued to reign supreme. In the second half of extra time both sides again looked tired and laboured with their passing, sitting fairly deep when out of possession to eliminate the possibility of making a late mistake. But after same tame regular and extra time football, penalties were the only way to decide the match.

With Germany in a full-flow and Argentina’s cautious game; the FIFA World Cup Final will be one to keep an eye on!

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