Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout at the Arena de São Paulo on Wednesday following a tight FIFA World Cup™ semi-final encounter which ended in a 0-0 draw after extra time. Lionel Messi could have brought a smile to all Argentines in the 15th minute when he found his way through the Dutch wall but keeper Jasper Cillessen got down smartly to deny him a goal. It was a matter of good work with no reward for both sides as the Oranje also had a few good chances of their own.
In the 32nd minute the Dutch were on the attack and Robin Van Persie went down inside the Argentine box and the referee blew his whistle only to rule Stefan De Vrij offside. Both sides failed to produce the 168th goal of the tournament in the first stanza as they headed to the dressing room locked at 0-0 and hinting a potential penalty shootout at the end of the second stanza.
The dull half-cooked chances of the first stanza did not fade with it as both teams were failing to turn their chances. Messi could have whipped in a beautiful free kick for his teammates in the 72nd minute but made a meal of it as the match went into extra time. The two sides refused to be separated after 120 minutes of play making way for the penalty shootout.
The first penalty by Ron Vlaar was saved by Sergio Romero diving to his left. Messi took the first spot kick for La Albiceleste and put it in the onion bag as did Arjen Robben and Ezequiel Garay for their respective teams before Wesley Sneidjer had his saved. The following duo of Sergio Aguero and Dirk Kuyt sent theirs past the keeper before Maxi Rodriguez scored the final and decisive penalty to give Alejandro Sabella’s troops a final date against Germany on Sunday in Rio De Janeiro.