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Argentina defeated the Netherlands in a penalty kick shootout to setup a date with Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final on Sunday.
Neither Argentina nor the Netherlands were able to score in 120 minutes, which resulted in the game needing a penalty kick shootout to determine a winner. Shootouts don't do a good job of showing which team is truly the best. They are more about who can handle their nerves better with the spotlight on them, and which goalkeeper is the best at predicting which side the strikers will aim for. It would be Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Sergio who made those important saves, as he swatted away efforts from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder.
Dutch keeper Jasper Cillessen needed to save Argentina’s fourth attempt, after letting in the first three, to give the Netherlands hope. However, Maxi Rodríguez shot got past him, though Cillessen managed to get a hand on it. The teams would not need to take their final attempts, as Argentina had clinched the 4-2 victory.
Argentina star player and captain Lionel Messi expressed his excitement about advancing to the final on his Twitter page.
Vamos por ti copa del mundo 13/4 Argentina vs Germany #VamosArgentina
— Lionel Messi (@LioMessi_) July 9, 2014
Argentina has Germany, which trounced Brazil 7-1, waiting for them in the final.
Argentina will need to be much better against Germany than they were versus the Netherlands if they want to win their first World Cup since 1986. Argentina did not look dangerous throughout the match, only managing to create a few decent chances to score. The Netherlands were effective in limiting Messi’s impact on the game. Sporting News notes that this was easier than usual because of the absence of Angel di Maria, who missed the game due to a thigh injury suffered in the quarterfinals.
Argentina has reached the final through winning a series of nail-biting games, as they won each of their first five matches of the tournament by a single goal. Germany, on the other hand, has been dominant at times, as they defeated well-known powerhouses of Portugal 4-0, and just beat Brazil 7-1 in the other semifinal match.
Germany will definitely be the predicted winner, even though a European team has never won a World Cup held in South America. Messi and company will need to find a way to create more chances to score in the final, as they cannot expect to keep Germany off the scoreboard for 120 minutes as they did to the Dutch.