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2014 FIFA WORLD CUP: IT'S ARGENTINA VERSUS GERMANY IN THE FINAL


PhilBoxing.com




Two brilliant saves by the Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero won it 4-2 for Argentina over the Netherlands in the penalty shoot-out allowing Argentina to go through the final and face Germany on Sunday.

The match ended 0-0 after the 90-minute regulation period and yet still after the extra time consisting of two 15-minute halves. This meant that the match was to be decided by the dreaded penalty
shoot-out, ?the lottery? as they say, where the element of luck would be a huge factor.

Netherlands was the first to shoot and the spot kick by Ron Vlaar was saved by Romero. Argentine superstar Lionel Messi took the first shot for Argentina and converted rather easily. Arjen Robben then was the next to take the penalty kick for the Netherlands and the Dutch striker promptly scored. After another Argentine conversion by Exequiel Garay, Romero once again came up with a brilliant save of a Wesley Sneijder?s shot with the Argentine goalkeeper correctly guessing in which direction the shot is going to be. When Sergio Aguero converted for Argentina?s 3rd point, the Netherlands could no longer afford any mistake. Dirk Kuyt?s conversion left the next Argentine shooter Marcel Rodriguez the opportunity of an outright Argentina win if his shot would go through. He did convert and the thousands of Argentine fans in the Arena de Sao Paulo immediately went into a frenzied celebration.

As anticipated, the match proceeded as a tactical battle where a key strategy would be to hold-off the other team?s best player, Messi of Argentina and Robben of the Netherlands. In the first half of the regulation period, Argentina was doing most of the attacking but could not gain any headway as the Netherlands employed a swarming defence. The character of the game sharpened in the second half when the Netherlands started to mount a series of attacks although the Argentine defence proved equal to the task diffusing dangerous scoring opportunities by their opponent. In the 90th minute, just as the end of the regulation period was approaching, Robben provided a real scare to the Argentine fans reaching the leftside top corner of the goal area and about to pounce on the ball through the net. Luckily for Argentina, Javier Mascherano, who shadowed Robben the entire game, was there on time to save that one by kicking the ball toward the end line.

In the first 15 minutes of the extra period, the Netherlands was doing much of the attacking but it was Argentina which was ready to score. The first real opportunity came in the 99th minute when Rodrico Palacio managed to send the ball close to the penalty box but a weak header gave the Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillesen little problem catching the ball. In the 105th minute, the Argentines were once again close to scoring when Maxi Rodriguez was at the right spot to receive a Mesi free kick but his shot was thwarted by Cillesen. In the second half of the extra time, Palacio had this real chance to score in the 114th minute when only Cillesen stood in his way toward the goal but denied yet again. And in the 116th minute, a Rodriguez shot coming from a Mesi pass was not taken incisively and was easily intercepted. These failed scoring chances would have been haunting to the Argentine players had they lose in the penalty shoot-out.

Entering the final, the Argentines would certainly have their hands full against Germany as they would have to cope with the latter?s fluid style of play and its inventive strikers in Thomas Mueller and Miroslav Klose.

Photo: Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero saves the third penalty shot from Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands during a penalty shootout in their 2014 World Cup semi-finals at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Michael Dalder.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salvador Lopez.


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