World Cup Wrap: Day 29

Wednesday’s World Cup semi-final between Holland and Argentina didn’t quite match the drama of Tuesday’s action for the neutrals, but what would the knock-out stages be without a penalty shoot-out?

And it’s at the game in Sao Paulo where we start today’s World Cup Wrap.

Back with a bite

Louis Van Gaal’s coaching ability came back to haunt him in Sao Paulo, as it was a player who he signed and nurtured seven years ago that helped to sink the Dutchmen in Wednesday’s semi-final.

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who spent most of last season sat on the bench at Monaco, first arrived in Europe in 2007 when Van Gaal signed him for Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.

He was plucked from relative obscurity with Buenos Aires-based Racing Club by Van Gaal, who soon got to work on the penalty saving skills of the youngster during training sessions in the Netherlands.

And the irony of his involvement in Wednesday’s defeat wasn’t lost on the new Manchester United boss, who saw Romero save spot-kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder to help seal Argentina’s place in the World Cup Final.

After the match, the new Manchester United manager admitted he was indirectly involved in Holland’s demise as he schooled the stopper during his time in Holland.

“I taught Romero how to stop penalties [at Alkmaar], so that hurts,” said Van Gaal.

“We were the club to bring him to Europe. He was a big talent, and someone who has the qualities to do that.”

Sad Brazilian fan hands over replica World Cup to German fan.

Fernandes with his World Cup, before handing it to a German fan

Sad Brazilian hands over World Cup

The image of Brazilian super-fan Clovis Acosta Fernandes clutching his replica World Cup trophy at various games this summer has been projected around the globe during the competition in his homeland.

Fernandes has followed Brazil at seven World Cups, six Copa Americas, four Confederations Cups and one Olympic games, but victory on home soil would have topped the lot.

So when he was snapped looking sad and closely holding the cup after Tuesday’s annihilation at the hands of Germany, it either melted hearts or brought the house down with laughter.

But after the final whistle and with the official photographers long gone, a mobile snap of Fernandes handing over his trophy to a German fan soon surfaced.

And Fernandes, widely known as ‘Gaucho da Copa’ in Brazil, reportedly said: “Take it to the final! As you can see, it is not easy, but you deserve it, congratulations!”

Bless him.

Brazilian woman predicts correct scoreline against Germany.

Anna’s score prediction came in correct on Tuesday evening, as posted on Instagram

Brazilian bookies’ relief

Another Brazilian who was a bit happier than Clovis on Tuesday was Anna Guerra, who predicted a 7-1 win for Germany in her office sweepstake.

The artist was the laughing stock of her workplace when claiming what she thought the final score of the semi-final would be, after her sleep-walking husband told her that a 7-1 Germany win would be the outcome.

So when she reported back to a rather glum office on Wednesday morning, the 200 Real prize was waiting for her. That’s an amount of around £55. 

“He said Germany,” revealed Guerra to Brazilian news outlet Lance. 

“I asked him what the score would be and he said 7-1.”

If only she’d have headed to the bookies with that scoreline…

Twitter take-off

Not only did Tuesday’s thrashing for Brazil set a new World Cup semi-final record scoreline, but it also broke new ground in social media circles.

Germany’s goal glut in the first half sparked it all off on Twitter, which went on to enjoy its “most talked about sporting event ever.”

There were a total of 35.6m tweets across the two-hour match, which smashed the previous 16.4m who chose to sound off online during the Brazil v Chile game in the previous round.

But the total also usurped the previous record of tweets during a sporting event, which was just shy of 25m for the Super Bowl in 2014.