If the first semi-finals was a one-sided affair, the second one was the toughest of duels between two teams that has a rich history of World Cup football. Argentina have been longing for World Cup glory for quite a time now. Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 in penalties having failed to score in 120 minutes of normal play. Sergio Romero was the hero for Argentina as he guarded the Argentine goal for 120 minutes and came up with crucial saves in the penalty shoot-out that included Sneijder and their mascular defender Vlaar. The best of the lot was when he saved a Sneijder spot kick. The Argentine kicktakers on the other hand converted every spot kick to send to the finals against Germany on Sunday.
The first half was very tense with Argentina and Netherlands going too much defensive. The best chance for Netherlands came when Wesley Sneijder was unmarked just outside the penalty box, but he put the shot wide. Argentina had couple of chances through a Messi freekick and Lavezzi came close to scoring only to be denied by the rock solid defense of the dutch.
The second half started with Louis Van Gaal making a substitution with Janmaat replacing Indi Martins, who was yellow carded in the first half. The move proved to be a good one as Janmaat was more better injecting speed into the Dutch build up play. Sneijder and Kuyt were the culprits for the Dutch, with the former not getting that adequate accuracy and the finesse associated with him. Sneijeder had many crosses gone wide and wasted. Kuyt on the other hand was guilty of slowing up the bulid up play. One would get the feeling that he was a tad too defensive in his approach. Van Gaal places a lot of trust in this ex-Liverpool man, but sad that he couldn’t repay that trust showed in him. Netherlands clearly missed the supply from mid-field all of a sudden. Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben didn’t get much support from the mid-field mainly Sneijder. Robben got a few chances, only to be defended well by the Argentine defence.
The Argentine defence was seen as one of the weakest defence in the World Cup, but then they have defended well throughout the tournament. A lot of credit goes to Javier Mascherano and Sergio Romero for them not conceding a goal. Mascherano was scintillating with passion for world cup glory running through his veins and he showed a defensive mid-fielder like can manage the role of centre back to precision. Never was he taken back by the attacking prowess of the Dutch. Dutch striker Van Persie was caught offside many a times, which was not expected of him.
The real chance for Argentina came in the second extra time when Palacio got a golden opportunity to bring up a 1-0 lead for the La Albiceleste. The Dutch goalkeeper Cillesen denied them again even though it was a low power header. The better goalkeeper was decided in the penalties when Romero came up with some fantastic saves, some of them out of this world to set up a summit clash with Germany in the finals after 24 years.