Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands were left heartbroken on Wednesday night after losing out on penalties in the World Cup semi-finals to Argentina in Sao Paulo.
The South Americans, who will now face Germany in Sunday’s final, won 4-2 in the shoot-out after Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder both saw their spot-kicks saved by Sergio Romero. By the time we got to penalties Robin van Persie had been substituted on what proved to be a hugely disappointing and frustrating evening for the striker and his team-mates.
Many wondered if we would see a repeat of the previous night’s goal fest between Brazil and Germany, but there was no chance of that during a very cagey opening period as both sides took the cautious approach.
Holland dominated the early exchanges but had little in the way of chances to show for their possession. After Sneijder had fired an effort wide on 13 minutes, Lionel Messi saw a well-struck free-kick saved by Jasper Cillessen. Argentina defender Ezequiel Garay rose to meet a corner on 24 minutes but headed over under pressure from Vlaar as the South Americans grew into the half.
We had to wait until the 74th minute for the next sight of goal and even then the offside flag was up. Substitute Daryl Janmatt powered down the right and crossed for van Persie who fired a spectacular overhead kick goalwards but it flew over as the flag was raised. Offside was called at the other end moments later when Gonzalo Higuain blasted into the side-netting after meeting Enzo Perez’s cross.
As the clock ticked down, Argentina’s Marcos Rojo tried his luck with a speculative effort from 40 yards and Arjen