Jul 9, 2014 at 9pm UK at ​Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo
Netherlands
0-0
Argentina

Martins Indi (44'), Huntelaar (105')
FT

Demichelis (48')
Argentina win 4-2 on penalties

Match Analysis: Netherlands 0-0 Argentina (Arg win 4-2 on pens)

Lionel Messi, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Marcos Rojo, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Garay of Argentina celebrate defeating the Netherlands in a shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between
© Getty Images
Sports Mole dissects the action as Argentina beat Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in the semi-final of the World Cup.

Argentina booked their spot in the final of the 2014 World Cup following a penalty shootout win over Netherlands in Sao Paulo.

The two teams could not be separated during 120 minutes of football, with penalties once more left to decide the outcome.

Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder both missed for the Dutch, but Argentina scored all four of their efforts to book a spot in Sunday's final against Germany.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the last-four clash.

Match statistics

NETHERLANDS
Shots: 7
On target: 3
Possession: 53%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 15

ARGENTINA
Shots: 8
On target: 5
Possession: 47%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 10

Was the result fair?

In truth, neither side deserved to triumph in the 120 minutes of football, with clear chances few and far between. Fairness as such goes out the window in penalty shootouts, but it was Argentina that showed the greater nerve when it mattered. Both teams struggled to create opportunities in a fairly tight first half of football, but opportunities did arrive in the second period. It was a similar story in extra time, with Netherlands enjoying the better of the first period, but Argentina creating chances in the second. Had penalties not occurred, the pair might have played all evening without scoring. Both defences should be admired, but neither team's attacking stars turned up in Sao Paulo.

Netherlands' performance

With Nigel de Jong declared fit, Memphis Depay dropped out of the Dutch XI this evening and it proved to be a smart decision, with a crowded Dutch midfield stopping a certain Lionel Messi from influencing proceedings. Once more, Netherlands were tight and compact in defensive areas, with Daley Blind (later Daryl Janmaat) and Dirk Kuyt providing legs in the wide areas. Both Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben struggled to effect the match in forward areas, however, with the pair well marshalled by the Argentine defence. Sneijder also struggled to produce his best form in a match where overall quality was fairly low for the calibre of players that were on the field.

The Dutch certainly have their limitations, but they can be proud of their performance in this summer's competition, especially when considering that they topped a group that included Spain and Chile. Had they taken a few more risks this evening, it might have been a different outcome. However, ultimately, it was one penalty shootout too far, with Argentina advancing from the lottery of spot kicks.

Argentina's performance

Again, it was not too inspiring from Argentina, but they have found a way to get the job done. That has been the case throughout the competition, but the South American side have shown a different side to their game in recent matches and have now kept three successive clean sheets. Enzo Perez was given a start in place of the injured Angel di Maria and it proved to be a smart decision from Alejandro Sabella, with the midfielder impressive in the middle of the park. Most of Argentina's star performers were from defensive areas, however, with Pablo Zabaleta and Javier Mascherano both terrific. The same cannot be said for the likes of Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, who like Robben and Van Persie, struggled to make their mark.

The quality of the football should be better when considering the talent that Sabella has at his disposal, but Argentina now have the chance to win the World Cup on Brazilian soil. Another clean sheet on Sunday and they will fancy their chances.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Javier Mascherano: In truth, this is not a difficult decision. Mascherano was the best player on the pitch this evening by a considerable distance. It appeared that the 30-year-old would be forced to depart in the first period following a sickening clash with Georgino Wijnaldum, but he returned to the field following a period of treatment. The versatile midfielder saved his side in the latter stages with a stunning challenge on Robben, while he was also calm and composed in possession of the ball. It was just about the perfect midfield performance.

Biggest gaffe

Dutch boss Louis van Gaal would have had his reasons for sending centre-back Vlaar to take the first penalty this evening, but it was a strange decision. The likes of Robben, Kuyt or indeed Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would have surely got their side off the mark with the first effort, but Vlaar fired his penalty straight at Argentine stopper Sergio Romero. From that moment, it was all downhill for Netherlands. Van Gaal has made some brilliant calls this summer, but he might live to regret that one.

Referee performance

Despite the intensity and tension surrounding the match, referee Cuneyt Cakir performed well this evening. The 37-year-old issued just the three yellow cards throughout the 120 minutes - none of which were particularly controversial. In truth, Cakir did not have too many major decisions to make, which made his task a lot easier. Neither manager will have had any complaints about the official's performance.

What next?

Netherlands: Netherlands face the hosts Brazil in the third-place playoff on Saturday.

Argentina: Argentina go on to face Germany in Sunday's final.

Lionel Messi, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Marcos Rojo, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Rodrigo Palacio and Ezequiel Garay of Argentina celebrate defeating the Netherlands in a shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between
Read Next:
Result: Argentina claim shootout victory
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables