Netherlands Sports News

Sergio RomeroBy Phil McNulty BBC Sport chief football writer in Sao Paulo

Story of the match:

  • Argentina reach first World Cup final since 1990
  • Germany await in Sunday's final in Rio
  • Vlaar and Sneijder miss penalties for Dutch in shootout
  • Cillessen in goal, Krul remains on bench

Argentina will meet Germany in Sunday's World Cup final at the Maracana after winning a penalty shootout to eliminate the Netherlands.

Romero saved two penalties to help Argentina win their fourth World Cup shootout in five attempts

And for Brazil, a nation still coming to terms with their worst defeat after being crushed 7-1 by Germany in Belo Horizonte, there is arguably the even more harrowing prospect of seeing fierce rivals Argentina lift the World Cup in the iconic surroundings of the Maracana.

Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder has his penalty saved by Argentina's Sergio RomeroGermany will be favourites given the manner in which they destroyed Brazil but there is a streak of steel running through Alejandro Sabella's side that offers resilience beyond the genius of Lionel Messi.

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal - who will now complete the formalities by guiding his side in Saturday's third/fourth place play-off before taking over at Manchester United - employed first the returning Nigel de Jong, then Jordy Clasie, to shadow Messi.

Match facts

Netherlands v ArgentinaThe Netherlands have lost both of their semi-final shootouts (the first coming v Brazil in 1998).

Argentina have progressed from all four of their World Cup semi-finals.

Arjen Robben attempted just one pass in the first half against Argentina.

Lionel Messi did not touch the ball in the Dutch penalty area during the 120 minutes.

Seven of the 14 knockout games at this tournament have gone to extra time, the most since 1990 (eight).

This was the first World Cup semi-final to end goalless (including extra time).

The plan succeeded but Van Gaal's problem was his side's failure to pose any attacking threat, with Robin van Persie peripheral and substituted, and Arjen Robben only able to deliver their first shot on target after 99 minutes.

Netherlands v ArgentinaThat Argentina's chances were at a premium was down, in large part, to Aston Villa defender Vlaar, the game's outstanding performer at the heart of the Dutch defence. He did not deserve the cruel fate of being one of those to miss a penalty.


Chris Waddle BBC Radio 5 live

"Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen will be disappointed with that last penalty. That was the one he could have saved with stronger wrists.

"But it was a poor game. A poor level for a semi-final of a World Cup. Let's hope the final is better.

"Argentina have had extra-time, more travelling, you've got to think it's there for Germany to win."

So to Sunday's showpiece and the repeat of the 1986 final, which Argentina won 3-2 to record their last World Cup triumph, and West Germany's 1-0 victory in Rome four years later, which was their last win.

Argentina will see the prospect of winning in Brazil's heartland as the perfect incentive. Earlier in this tournament, their supporters had flooded across the border in thousands in a show of support and they will do so again.

This was not a spectacle of any sort, but as firecrackers went off among Argentina fans and their players celebrated in front of them in the Sao Paulo rain, they did not have a care.

Netherlands v Argentina Netherlands v Argentina Netherlands v Argentina Netherlands v Argentina

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