Romero must fly: Argentina penalises Dutchmen to advance to Rio final

If yesterday’s 2014 World Cup semi-final was a sumptuous feast—albeit a bit rich for Brazilian football fans—then today’s affair was rice and patchoi; unsavoury and forgettable but good enough to take you where you want to go.

And, for Lionel Messi and his band of brothers, the next stop is Rio de Janeiro and Brazil’s famous Maracanã Stadium. On Sunday, Germany and Argentina will meet in the World Cup final to decide which has the best international team on the planet.

For Brazilians, that must be like getting to pick your wife’s hornerman; and there is no million dollar Robert Redford tip in this affair either.

Photo: A skeptical child asks a billion dollar question. (Courtesy Wired868)
Photo: A skeptical child asks a billion dollar question.
(Courtesy Wired868)

Thank goodness Rio’s famous Christ the Reedemer statue was built without a belt and shoe lacings.

For Argentina, it was the second successive 2014 World Cup knock-out match won without a decisive contribution from captain Lionel Messi. But this shave was as close as the Opposition Leader’s scalp.

By the final whistle, Argentina right back Pablo Zabaleta’s bandaged face looked as if he had bumped into the wrong soca star at Zen while teammates Javier Mascherano and Ezequiel Garay also needed lengthy treatment after coming out worse for collisions with Dutch players.

And Messi’s GPS was apparently not getting a signal.

At the other end, Mascherano was watching Netherlands star Arjen Robben closer than pop star Robin Thicke is tracking his estranged wife, Paula, while Robin Van Persie picked the wrong time to show off his Fred impression.

It was football’s answer to “J’adoube” in chess; all intriguing contemplation but little action.

Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal used all his three substitutions long before the final whistle on this occasion—or maybe he just dozed off—while Alejandro Sabella managed to stay on his feet today.

So it was up to the players to create their own drama in the shoot-out.

Inexplicably, Netherlands sent central defender Ron Vlaar to set the tone with the first penalty, which might be like the West Indies cricket team asking fast bowler Ravi Rampaul to open the batting. Argentina captain Sergio Romero saved easily to his left and “La Albiceleste” never looked back.

Photo: Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero keeps out a penalty from Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. (Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)
Photo: Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero keeps out a penalty from Netherlands defender Ron Vlaar in the 2014 World Cup semifinals.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)

The last time Brazil hosted the World Cup finals, 64 years ago, Uruguay stole the show with a surprise 2-1 win at the Maracanã. Now Brazilians must sit back and observe as two of their bitterest rivals fight for the spotlight at the party they spent US$14 billion to put on.

Mr Live Wire has a sneaking suspicion that the number of Brazilians protesting their staging of the World Cup is set to skyrocket.


Today’s 2014 World Cup action

Semifinal round

Argentina 0, Netherlands 0

*–Argentina win 4-2 on penalties


Star of the Day

Argentina midfield terrier Javier Mascherano stayed so close to Netherlands’ star Arjen Robben today that surely they are on each other’s “My Lime” list by now.

Photo: Netherlands star attacker Arjen Robben (front) and Argentina midfielder Javier Mascerano get acquainted during the 2014 Brazil World Cup semifinal. (Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)
Photo: Netherlands star attacker Arjen Robben (front) and Argentina midfielder Javier Mascerano get acquainted during the 2014 Brazil World Cup semifinal.
(Copyright AFP 2014/Pedro Ugarte)

But Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero was the hero in the end with a fine save from Ron Vlaar and an even better one to deny Wesley “Papa Smurf” Sneijder.


Villain of the Day

Netherlands captain Robin Van Persie had nine completed passes, lost nine of his 10 duels for the ball and didn’t register a single shot in goal in 96 minutes.

In short, he played like a Brazil number nine. And that is no longer a compliment.

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  1. I concur with senor Best on his observation on the piece. It was well written. One must note that the Dutch had four injured players hence the reason for Kuyt being used as flash band on that sinking ship. Robben could not have been switched all around as he is used to. Nevertheless, one shouldn’t expect that a team win with that defensive formation that was played. LL is somewhat correct by saying Messi is not athletic. In fact Messi can be considered as the laziest football players for club ad country. His perceived laziness up front causes the team to be ineffective because other players share up his work rate just to get him in the right positions. It counteracted the shallow bench of the Dutch which made for mind numbing football. I don’t know why people are so eager to apotheosize and emulate him. But to each their own. He is consistently ineffective with his star habit in that position. Let’s face it, he is no Chris Gayle. I will reiterate that it will really be magic if Argentina lifts the cup. When the players make the rounds of the stadium carrying it, Messi might be 200 meters behind!

  2. loool~~ hoss u cyah blight the Argentina team dan~~~ even the pope an his army of prayer’s rebuking that blight lol……as they say God is ah Argentinian lol

  3. Lasana Liburd every team ah back in the knock out round lost. So let’s go Argentina lol

  4. Lasana some decent players go there. Lol Lasana Liburd you always have jokes man. He does rely on some pace. Lol

  5. And Messi doesn’t rely on athleticism to be effective eh. Just a note of caution for those who are anxious to see him hang up his boots.

  6. Wait. Is the Toulon Cup you say Prince Borde? I am almost fall out my chair with that one! Hahaha.
    The mighty Brazil reduced to bragging about non-FIFA tournaments?!
    How did Brazil do in the Guinness Street Football? Any medals there too? 🙂

  7. BTW, what you have against rice and patchoi? All big sawatee does look down on we poor people food, ent?

  8. I love the sub plot for the final now though.

    Germany’s golden generation that revamped its football after England beat them 5-1 in Munich, desperate for a world cup as a team, or forever be remembered in a similar vein to great dutch team of 74 & 78.

    While for Argentina its all about Messi. Although i think its a bit harsh, he probably needs to win this world cup for reasons we all know.

    Although he conceivably still be a very good player in Russia 2018 at age 31 & could win it then.

  9. If you had been playing your cards close to your chest and not letting anyone know whom you support, the cat would still be out of the bag today. The suggestion that Van Gaal “might have fallen asleep” is for me a real winner but there are a myriad of really funny lines in here..
    You really outdid yourself with this piece which is way better IMHO than any of the other earlier match reports.
    I wonder why?

  10. Argentina need a miracle Sunday. But after SCRAPING through all their games thus far, one last hurrah isn’t beyond them on Sunday.

  11. Like Messi using a Digicel Lasana Liburd how he wasn’t getting a signal ? Lol

  12. Lol. Netherlands did not have a shot on target for 90 minutes.
    That suggests that Argentina had more control of the game. And this is what impressed me most.
    When you choke your opponent, get the ball in promising positions yourself and have Messi in your time. More than not, you will win.
    So although the win came by penalties, I don’t think it was just luck.
    Germany looking bad now. But the Dutch and Belgium was supposed to be bad too and neither troubled us.
    Robben would have eaten Marcelo alive on yesterday’s form. Sabella should big Phil a trick.

  13. Ob a serious note Lasana, I can’t see Argentina winning without Di Maria being fit to play. I don’t think the attack is as potent as it should be without him.

  14. I always aaid Argentina making the final but hoped Brasil would be the one to apply the coup de grace. Now I have to hope German efficiency gets the job done.

  15. Curtis – I wasn’t so impressed because RVP wasn’t a force at all so the challenge wasn’t as difficult as it should have been. Masherano has had a good tournament and has matured greatly.

    I look forward to watching Germany win on Sunday. 😀

  16. While disappointed, I can live with the defeat! Justice was served as Argentina had a legitimate goal disallowed…Curtis is spot on…for once LVG was beaten tactically…Congrats Lasana! You called the final 2!!!

  17. Lasana Liburd I must give sabella full credit for that game. His tactics was spot on, that’s the only team that kept Robben quiet. They close down the dutch quickly , limited them in every way, they had no space and forced the Dutch to play only on the wing to the less talented kuyt.. That was brilliant. The only thing they missed was di maria , he was a big miss. Argentina was patient and controlled the game . I wish milito was younger. I still think higuain is to slow and aguero still not fit. But I was truly impressed with masherano , he was man of the match for me, I actually forgot that he was a central midfielder …

  18. You would notice that since the group stages defence has improved.

  19. Not to wax-poetic but.

    I asked Argentina to cry for me,

    he said sit my child Messi shall set you free.

    I asked again I had a doubt,

    he said Mascherano doesn’t know what you’re talking about.

    I asked for Sunday to be great.

    he said with Messi and Aguero how can’t you appreciate?

    I asked finally will my dream come true?
    he said don’t you know this is Diego? God was talking to you.

  20. Gary Lineker @GaryLineker · 8h

    Must say @Mascherano was immense. What a heart!

  21. It was prophesied right here on Wired868 what Brazil would have experienced if they did not address specifically outlined variables.
    A ‘pardner’ call me that evening and before he could say anything, I ask, ‘horse, you goin’ wake tonight?’ He turn and tell me, ‘right now dat side goin six feet under yes; no seven!’
    It was also predicted on ‘Wired’ that Argentina as a team suffers if Messi plays too far forward and Sabella doesn’t give him someone to hold the ball up. This game was as presumably just as boring as the Brazil/ Germany game.
    Higuain is by far the best contributing player for Argentina in this tournament, then Mascherano, then Zabaleta, then Di Maria, then Messi.
    If Sabella deviates from this blog again, then he is better of going back to coach Gentle Ben.
    The facts that remain are: Messi is not a clutch player; Argentina has stumbled into the final. If they don’t stumble out of there with the cup, they better hope that Germany does not play in its funeral clothes as when they buried Brazil. But whoever wins, the outcome of this World Cup will be determined by Sami Khedira.

  22. Let Germany try to outgun us and give Higuain a yard of space and see what happens.

  23. Argentina has options. Aguero and Higuain as front two with Messi behind. That is when Messi is most dangerous.
    Or keep Lavezzi and hope to run at slow Germans. Maybe di Maria is ready to come on by then.
    And, as usual, Messi will need two Germans to watch him which helps our remaining midfielders.
    We don’t fear any defence with Boateng and Mertersacker.

  24. Ok Germany to win the cup, Messi to win the golden boot. Best neutral result for team Germany after falling short in all these recent semi finals and Messi’s personal legacy.

  25. Better hope all yuh win because this is Messi’s final World Cup at his prime. He might never get another chance. Pray, those German machines are coming. Impressive run so far for both sides. Good for football this finals. The best player in the world versus the best team in the world.

  26. The score was 2-1. We never win the Olympics anyways. In four years Neymar would have matured. These boys wi be fine in Russia.

  27. lol Prince Borde u do no that brasil youth program an team’s arent that successful at all more like average lol. but ok hpe on something i guess lol

  28. Spanked.? Mexico did win the U17 World Cup twice. The u21s win that Toulon cup in the US! I am not worried partner. Enjoy y’all success right now

  29. Which Brazil youth teams are successful Prince Borde? The star studded U23 team with Thiago Silva, Neymar and Oscar that got spanked by Mexico?

  30. Lol. That might make a nice tombstone on Sunday night

  31. Brazil will find a way. Their youth teams are successful. They will be ok.

  32. We are of Brasil. Argentina cannot win our World Cup. Better Germany than the old enemy.

  33. hmm how can brasil decide when they have lost there identity~ i remember yrs back. people use 2 love to play brasil but also feared them cause of there attacking artistry~~ ~ and class player’s~ now watching them is like watching England play or some European team play~~sad to say the only way~ is for them to fine a new samba style~~ cause everyone done starting to patent it an master it as there own an doing better than brasil~~ and sadly that will take year’s for Brasil to do which i see with lots of disappointment

  34. Brazil has to decide what path it wants to trod. The last Brazil team to really play beautiful football was back in 1986. Since then, there were some teams with some amazing players like Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo; but they were really functional teams with a few standouts and people like Mazinho, Kleberson and Dani Alves in midfield.
    You all can’t have it both ways. Scolari was always a pragmatic, no frills coach. You were never going to get samba from his boys.

  35. Wait like yuh forget we make the semifinals. For crushed but was there

  36. Prince Borde i feel sorry for your prediction and team~~ sad to see how the mighty have fallen lol~~trust me wen i said~ brasil aint gonna rise again for like 100 yrs again~ or more~they eh gonna touch a world cup for like forever~so stay strong eh~ and have faith lol

  37. Well, everyone thought the Netherlands team was special too until they shared a field with Argentina. So time to give the Germans a dose of reality too. 😉

  38. Lasana Liburd talk now eh. Yuh lucky I have a soft spot for Messi. I will feel bad for him if he don’t ever win a World Cup like de other greats. And I appreciate good football. I am impress with their discipline tactically this World Cup. I don’t think they stand a chance against Germany but they have been defending well this World Cup. We go see.
    Brazil will ride again! Greatness in the blood!

  39. Lasana you know why Argentina win today David CB Smith had on an Argentina shirt today I even have proof just look at his status page! ENT?

  40. i must say~ Argentina defense have really been the revelation this world cup~ from having a shaky and weak defense to actually being the d best defense this world. cup~ man that javier mascherano is ah boss jed that man sick on he feet

  41. Haha. You won’t support your fellow South Americans Kendall? Shame, shame

  42. World Cup 2014: Louis van Gaal says no-one wanted first penalty

    Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal says two of his players refused to take the first penalty in their World Cup semi-final shootout defeat by Argentina.
    Defender Ron Vlaar stepped up but Sergio Romero saved his kick. Argentina went on to win the shootout 4-2 and will face Germany in Sunday’s final.
    “I asked two players to take the first ball before ending up with Vlaar,” said new Manchester United boss Van Gaal.
    “I thought he was the best player on the pitch so should have confidence.”

  43. I find that amazing David. I can’t believe it.

  44. All up to the Germans now Lasana. We will see how it goes Sunday.

  45. Unlike certain supporters I say it with a lump in my throat No European side has ever won the World Cup on South American soil……

  46. Vlaar took the first penalty,because according to Van Gaal,”no one wanted to take it”

  47. Brilliant piece. Looks like the wagonistas are sleeping, but they will emerge with the usual predictions and revisions.

  48. ” Mascherano was watching Netherlands star Arjen Robben closer than pop star Robin Thicke is tracking his estranged wife, Paula, while Robin Van Persie picked the wrong time to show off his Fred impression.” Brilliant Lasana!!!! And funny as hell…

  49. lmao!!! lol so well put ~~ best piece@brasil paid 14billion for a messi party in brasil………………..take win lmao

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