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Argentina Advances to Final with PK Win over Dutch
(Photo: Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Sergio Romero stopped two penalty kicks in Argentina's 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands to advance to the World Cup Final after the first ever goalless semifinal. Argentina advances to Sunday's World Cup Final against Germany. The 2014 World Cup Final match is a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 finals.
[ Related: 2014 World Cup Photos - Netherlands vs Argentina ]
Argentina's Sergio Romero saved two penalty kicks in a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands to advance to the World Cup Final after the first ever goalless semifinal
Romero plunged low to his left to save the first penalty kick from defender Ron Vlaar and then made a superb stop to deny 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 first semifinal match in Belo Horizonte.
The 2014 Final is a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 finals. It is the first time that the same two teams will have faced each other three times in the final.
With Brazil's harrowing defeat still fresh in the mind, caution was the watchword of a tactical first half as both sides felt each other out and battled for possession across the pitch in a defense-dominated encounter short on entertainment. Nigel de Jong, making a remarkable recovery from a groin injury, successfully shadowed Argentine playmaker Lionel Messi throughout the match. Argentina had equalled their longest winning streak at a World Cup with their 1-0 victory over Belgium in the quarter-finals, but all five of those wins were by one-goal margins and they were even less creative without the injured Angel di Maria. Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who was kept quiet by his standards, did test Cillessen with a free kick early on while Ezequiel Garay stooped to head a corner over the bar under pressure from Vlaar but chances were few in a dire first half.
The second half was equally cautious as the Dutch failed to take a shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes before Arjen Robben burst into the box in the dying moments, only to be denied by Javier Mascherano's well-timed block. Argentina substitute Rodrigo Palacio missed a chance in the second period of extra time when he broke clear and his tame header was held comfortably by a relieved Cillessen.
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"Argentina Advances to Final with PK Win over Dutch "