Argentina head to Final

Updated: July 9, 2014

Argentina will face Germany in the World Cup Final after beating Holland on penalties in their semi-final in Sao Paulo. 

The game was goalless after 120 minutes and then Sergio Romero became the hero, saving from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. 

Argentina scored all four of their spot-kicks to set up a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 Finals, at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, on Sunday as they look to win the trophy for the first time since 1990. 

Holland 0-0 Argentina

(Argentina win 4-2 on penalties)
2014 FIFA World Cup
Wednesday 9 July
Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo

The match had been billed as a duel between Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben, but this was not an evening that allowed either of them to shine. 

Dutch boss Louis Van Gaal played Nigel De Jong, who just nine days ago had been ruled out of the tournament with a groin injury, in defensive midfield with one role – stop Messi. 

The AC Milan midfielder excelled at it. He snapped at Messi’s heels, preventing the Barcelona man from getting on the ball in dangerous situations or from running at the Dutch back four. 

Yet Holland were unable to get Arjen Robben on the ball, either, with the Bayern Munich man registering just six touches in the first-half.
It was a game of nip and tuck, with Messi’s free-kick straight at Jasper Cillessen the closest either side came to a goal in the first-half. 

The theme continued in the second period, too, with defences firmly on top.
But then Argentina had the finest chance of the match with just 20 minutes to go as Enzo Perez curled a wonderful ball into the area that Gonzalo Higuain could only steer into the side netting. 

Extra-time brought more of the same between two teams that were unsure whether to go for the jugular and sit back and wait for a mistake. 

Argentina had the two clearest chances as Rodrigo Palacio headed weakly at Jasper Cillissen before Marcos Rojo steered his volley straight at the goalkeeper. 

Then it was the lottery of penalties – and Argentina came out on top with former Liverpool man Maxi Rodriguez netting the decisive kick after Romero had repelled the Dutch twice from 12 yards.