Argentina advances to World Cup final

Published On: Jul 09 2014 10:39:59 PM EDT
SAO PAULO -

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved two penalties Wednesday to send Argentina into the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate.
   
A day after Germany lit up the World Cup with its clinical 7-1 destruction of host Brazil, the Netherlands and Argentina could not manage a goal between them in 120 minutes before the shootout.
   
Romero - thought to be a weak link in this Argentine team and not even a starter for his Monaco club most of last season - blocked penalties by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. For Argentina, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez all converted their spot kicks.
   
"It's luck, that's the truth. You can dive (the right way) and not make it, like happened to their goalkeeper," Romero said. "I had confidence, thank God things turned out well."
   
In a matchup of two of football's powerhouse nations, two-time champion Argentina will play three-time winner Germany in Sunday's final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
   
That means an extra bitter end to the tournament for Brazilians, who will have to watch their fiercest rivals play for the world title in their most hallowed stadium against a team that humiliated their nation in the semifinals.
   
Argentina reached its fifth final, and its first in 24 years. It won the title in 1978 - beating the Dutch - and in 1986. It lost the championship matches in 1930 and 1990. It played West Germany in both the '86 and '90 finals.
   
The Netherlands, which has never won the World Cup, was seeking to reach its fourth final.
   

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