Soccer-Argentina beat Dutch in shootout to reach final

Wed Jul 9, 2014 7:47pm EDT
 
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By Peter Rutherford

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Argentina's Sergio Romero saved two penalties in a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands to seal their first World Cup final place in 24 years after the first ever goalless semi-final at the end of extra time on Wednesday.

Romero plunged low to his left to save the first penalty kick from defender Ron Vlaar and then made a superb stop from Wesley Sneijder as Argentina's jubilant fans went wild at the Corinthians arena.

The pressure of scoring the winning penalty kick fell to Argentina substitute Maxi Rodriguez who slotted high past Jasper Cillessen, with the Dutch keeper failing to emulate the heroics of backup Tim Krul in their quarter-final win over Costa Rica.

Twice champions Argentina now travel to Rio de Janeiro for Sunday's final against old rivals Germany, who thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the other semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

It will be a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 finals and the first time the same two teams will have faced each other three times in the title decider.

"...I'm really happy with everything," goalkeeping hero Romero said in a televised interview. (Penalties) are a question of luck, that's the reality... I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well."

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella added: "I'm very happy because we reached the final and now we will see what we can do. We will give everything as usual, with humility, work and 100 percent effort."

Disappointed Netherlands winger Arjen Robben told Dutch TV: "It hurts but we gave it our all this evening and it's grim going out in this way... I have to be proud of these guys..."   Continued...

 
Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero reacts after saving a goal attempt from Ron Vlaar of the Netherlands during a penalty shoot-out during their 2014 World Cup semi-finals at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Dominic Ebenbichler