Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 10th 2014 Contents A78
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, July 10, 2014
SAO PAULO---Argentina are just
90 minutes away from lifting the
World Cup in the Maracana after
they edged past Holland on
penalties in yesterday s semi-
final at the Arena Corinthians.
After a dull, uneventful and
goalless 120 minutes, the match
went to a penalty shootout in Sao
Argentina did not miss once
and Sergio Romero saved from
Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder,
meaning Alejandro Sabella s team
clinched the showdown 4-2.
Argentina will now face Ger-
many in Sunday s World Cup final
at the Maracana---the spiritual
home of their fierce rivals Brazil,
who were brutally knocked out
by Germany on Tuesday night.
The last time the Argentines
made it through to the final in
1990, they lost to the Germans.
Germany, who battered Brazil
7-1 in Belo Horizonte, will take
encouragement from watching
this performance from Sabella s
Lionel Messi scored one of the
penalty kicks, but he was other-
wise quiet and Argentina failed to
impress all night.
Louis van Gaal did well to snuff
out Messi during normal time,
but his team were also devoid of
ideas in attack.
Van Gaal will now take charge
of Holland in Saturday s third-
place playoff against the hosts
before flying to England to take
over at Manchester United.
The Dutchman may regret
deciding against bringing on Tim
Krul, who saved two penalties
against Costa Rica in the previous
round, as Jasper Cillessen was
easily beaten from 12 yards.
After a mad opening half an
hour in Belo Horizonte on Tues-
day, both teams started cautiously
on a cold night.
Messi drilled a low free-kick
right at Cillessen and Ezequiel
Garay headed just over for
Argentina, but nothing else of note
happened in the first period.
After the break, Argentina
briefly upped the tempo. Vlaar
blocked Messi as he advanced
towards goal and substitute Daryl
Janmaat denied Gonzalo Higuain.
Nigel de Jong, a surprise starter,
was struggling to keep up with
the game and he came off for
Jordy Klasie with 28 minutes left.
Lucas Biglia and Janmaat both
needed treatment after sliding into
each other in a nasty challenge
that made Argentina coach Sabella
wince on the touchline.
There was no inkling of a goal
until the final minute of normal
time when Enzo Perez dashed
down the right and delivered a
pinpoint low cross to Higuain,
who turned the ball inches wide.
The Argentina fans who saw
the net ripple thought they had
finally seen a goal, but the referee
awarded a goal-kick.
That proved to be Higuain s last
contribution as he was replaced
by Sergio Aguero. Sabella also
threw on Rodrigo Palacio to boost
A few errant tackles started fly-
ing in as the game became sloppy.
Martin Demichelis, already on a
booking, took out Robben but the
referee kept his cards in his pock-
et.All of a sudden Holland were
presented with a chance to win
Sneijder glanced a diagonal pass
into the path of Robben, but luck-
ily for Argentina, Mascherano
came to the rescue and the game
went to extra-time.
In the 98th minute Holland
mustered their first shot on target,
an effort from Robben that flew
into Romero s hands.
In his final substitution, Van
Gaal brought Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
on for Robin van Persie, meaning
Krul would not be allowed on for
the inevitable penalty shootout.
Cillessen jangled the nerves of
the Holland fans when he per-
formed an audacious turn to wrig-
gle away from the advancing
Aguero at the start of the second
half of extra-time.
Sabella was incensed with Pala-
cio when he tried---and failed---to
head over Cillessen from ten yards
in the dying minutes of extra-
Dirk Kuyt fluffed a good chance
at the other end and the match
went to penalties.
Romero saved straight away
from Vlaar. Messi, Garay and
Aguero found the net while
Romero saved to his right from
Dirk Kuyt slotted Holland s
fourth penalty away, but Maxi
Rodriguez then beat Cillessen to
send Argentina through to the
SAO PAULO---Luiz Felipe Scolari says
there will be no decision on his future as
Brazil coach until after the World Cup.
Scolari, 65, faced calls from Brazilian
media to resign after Tuesday s 7-1 semi-
final defeat against Germany.
But he insists he will only think about
his future after Saturday s third-place play-
off in Brasilia.
"We still have work. We have a com-
mitment with the CBF (Brazilian Football
Confederation) until the end of the World
Cup," Scolari said.
"And the end of the World Cup is Sat-
urday. It is only after this game we will
talk with the direction of the CBF, that s
when we will decide."
Scolari, who led his country to the World
Cup in 2002 before returning as coach in
December 2012, has faced strong criticism
after Tuesday s defeat in Belo Horizonte
- Brazil s heaviest loss since they were
beaten 6-0 by Uruguay in 1920.
"Go To Hell, Felipao," read the headline
on the front of the daily O Dia newspaper,
which printed a photograph of the manager
holding up seven fingers during the game.
"He was responsible for the worst
humiliation of the national team in its cen-
tury-old history," read the accompanying
article, noting that Scolari had once said
that those who don t like his style can "go
Former Brazil winger Jairzinho, a promi-
nent member of his country s 1970 World
Cup win, said: "This is not my team. I
don t like Filipao. He is not my favourite
"It is not a good system. The team play
a long ball every time. They are too defen-
sive. It s impossible."
Brazil were 5-0 down at half-time after
conceding four goals in six minutes.
"We had a disaster in six minutes but
it happened," Scolari said. "Let s work for
Saturday s game.
"If I could explain what happened in
those six minutes I would answer but I do
"I cannot explain, I will not justify. An
error occurred and this error was fatal."
SAO PAULO---Brazil forward Neymar is
recovering "very well" from the fractured
vertebra injury which ended his 2014 Fifa
World Cup campaign.
Medical staff from his club side Barcelona
visited the 22-year-old at his home in Brazil
to check on the problem and the player s
"The injury is progressing very well,"
said a statement from the Spanish club.
"From 5 August the player will continue
his treatment and the final stage of his
recovery in Barcelona."
Neymar suffered the injury after Juan
Zuniga s challenge in a 2-1 quarter-final
win over Colombia.
He missed his country s semi-final
against Germany and he was sorely missed
as the Selecao were thumped 7-1. (AP)
SAO PAULO---Louis van Gaal
took some credit for showing
Argentina s Sergio Romero how
to stop penalties, advice that cost
the Netherlands coach dearly
Romero stopped two spot kicks
as Argentina beat van Gaal s
Dutch team 4-2 in a penalty
shootout in the World Cup semi-
finals, advancing to the final
Van Gaal, who worked with
Romero at Dutch club Alkmaar
in 2007-2009, said "I taught
Romero to stop penalties, so that
Romero says "It s luck, that s
the truth. You can dive and not
make it, like their goalkeeper did.
I had confidence, thank God
things turned out."
Romero, who isn t even a
starter in his club team Monaco,
now has three straight clean
sheets in the World Cup, and has
only conceded three goals in the
going very well
Van Gaal: I taught Romero how to stop penalties
Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, front, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio
Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal
soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao
Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, yesterday. Argentina beat the Netherlands
4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. AP PHOTO
Messi's Argentina into final
...penalty loss sends Holland home
• The Netherlands have lost
both of their semifinal
shootouts (the first coming
vs Brazil in 1998).
• Argentina have progressed
from all four of their World
• Arjen Robben attempted
just one pass in the first half
• Lionel Messi did not touch
the ball in the Dutch
penalty area during the 120
• Seven of the 14 knockout
games at this tournament
have gone to extra time,
the most since 1990
• This was the first World
Cup semifinal to end
goalless (including extra-
04 Martins Indi Booked
(Janmaat - 45' )
03 de Vrij
06 de Jong (Clasie - 62' )
09 van Persie (Huntelaar -
96' Booked )
15 Demichelis Booked
08 Pérez (Palacio - 81' )
09 Higuaín (Agüero - 82' )
22 Lavezzi (Rodríguez - 101')
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