World Cup 2014-Semi-Final- Match Report: Netherlands 0 – Argentina 0 (2-4 on penalties)

9 Jul

matchpicture1Have you all recovered from the other semi-final yet? Yeah, me either. But here’s a match report for the clash between the Oranje and the Albiceleste!

Lineups:

Netherlands: Cillessen, Vlaar, Martins Indi, De Vrij, Wijnaldum, Robben, Sneijder, De Jong, Blind, Kuyt, Van Persie

Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Rojo, Garay, Masherano, Perez, Biglia, Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi

matchpicture2There was a moment of silence before the match for Alfredo Di Stefano and the Argentine players wore black armbands in his honor. That’s class.

The match itself got off to a really slow start. Of course, anything would have seemed slow after yesterday’s flying German goalfest, right? Argentina were surely missing the pace of the injured DiMaria as they struggled to create chances for goals. Their best chances came from a pair of free kicks in the eleventh and fourteenth minutes; the first- taken by Lavezzi- was headed clear by Van Persie (and then skied by Perez), and the second- taken by Messi- was saved by Cillessen.

matchpicture3Cillessen was called into action again in the twentieth minute to deal with a cross from Lavezzi. Then things got a little ugly- and I don’t just mean the inability of either team to get a shot on target. Garay took a kick to the face while trying to get his head to a corner from Lavezzi. Then, just minutes later, his teammate, Mascherano knocked heads with Wijnaldum. Respect to the Dutch player for catching Masche before he hit the ground completely.

matchpicture4Respect for absolutely nothing else, though, because even though Masche COULDN’T GET UP ON THE FIRST TRY, even though he looked dazed as he stumbled to the touchline, he was back in the game a mere two and a half minutes later. I won’t go into full rant mode because I’m just a guest here, but FIFA, SERIOUSLY, ESTABLISH CONCUSSION PROTOCOLS AND TAKE THEM SERIOUSLY.

Ahem.

The final fifteen minutes of the half were a series of almost chances for both sides. Lavezzi continued to cause problems for the Dutch, while Robin Van Persie started to find space to maneuver around Argentina’s defense, but neither they nor any of their teammates could get a goal. Leo Messi had the final attempt of the half with a shot in the forty-fifth minute, but it was no trouble for Cillessen to save.

matchpicture5The second half started much the same way the first half did: slow and scoreless. The Dutch swapped Janmaat with Martins Indi, but that was the only change made by either side. Sneijder tried to grab an early goal with a long-range shot in the fiftieth minute, but it was well off target.

The goals didn’t come, but more injuries did. Sneidjer had to receive treatment. Then Biglia went down hard after a challenge from Janmaat. It looked like he might be stretchered off, but he eventually got to his feet and continued on, despite looking like he was in a lot of pain.

matchpicture6Then Janmaat took a hit himself, and I cringed at the thought of another head injury. Luckily- sort of?- it looked like he took the blow on his jaw rather than higher up. Bet it still hurt, though.

Vlaar tripped himself in the seventy-first minute and knocked Higuain off the ball in the process. My commentators immediately started joking about the unique nature of the tackle. I was busy laughing at how Vlaar tried to grab the ball and Higuain twisted so it was behind his back; playground moves 101, right there.

It looked as if Higuain would be the hero a few minutes later, but, alas for Argentine fans, his shot went into the side netting and the offside flag was up anyhow. That turned out to be the game for him, as he was subbed out for Aguero shortly after.matchpicture7Aguero is a fast player, and his presence definitely re-energized Argentina, but the Dutch defense held firm. I have to give them credit for their impersonation of a brick wall because it was quite impressive. It was Argentina’s defense, though, that had to put in the work in stoppage time. Arjen Robben tried to grab a late winner, but he was driven wide, and it was on to extra time.

matchpicture8Huntelaar came on for Van Persie shortly after extra time began. I don’t usually compliment RvP, but anyone who plays ninety minutes of World Cup soccer when they’re getting over a stomach bug? Yeah, got to respect that.

His teammate, Robben, got the first chance of extra time, but the long-range shot went straight at Romero, so it was an easy save.

matchpicture9Argentina brought on Maxi Rodriguez for Lavezzi, who had a tremendous game, really- especially in the first half- but just seemed to be running out of energy. The substitution had no real immediate impact, though; Argentina were unable to create any chances, but neither were their opponents.

Huntelaar picked up a yellow card in the 104th minute for a challenge on Mascherano. I cringed when Masche went down, given his earlier injury, but he kept his head up as he fell so it didn’t make contact with the ground. Messi took the resulting free kick, but Cillessen came leaping off his line and punched it away before Aguero could get his head to it.

matchpicture10

The second half of added time started with Zabaleta colliding face-first with Kuyt while both were going for the ball. Kuyt immediately called medical personnel over, which had to have been worrying for an out-of-subs Argentina. Eventually, though, Zabaleta was able to get up- albeit with a bloody mouth- and continue on.

After little of note from either side, Palacio had a great chance to score in the 114th minute. He was one on one with the keeper, but he just couldn’t manage to head the ball past Cillessen. Two minutes later, Messi managed a great cross to Rodriguez, who was right in front of goal. Again, though, Cillessen was there.

Then it was the Netherlands’ turn to try and break the deadlock. Janmaat crossed the ball to Kuyt, who was in a great position about sixteen yards out, but his shot took a deflection and sailed over the bar. That was the last chance they got before the whistle blew.

So it was on to penalties. I was joking my friends that it was my birthday wish that both these teams would lose (sorry, fans). I guess this was the closest thing the footie gods could give me.

Round One:
Vlaar- saved
Messi- scores
Netherlands 0 – Argentina 1

Round Two:
Robben- scores
Garay- scores
Netherlands 1 – Argentina 2

Round Three:
Sneijder- saved (and I may have blurted out “holy crap!” here)
Aguero- scores
Netherlands 1 – Argentina 3

Round Four:
Kuyt- scores
Rodriguez- scores
Netherlands 2 – Argentina 4

So there it is. Argentina are through to the final on penalties.
matchpicture11

– Katie Ann

3 Responses to “World Cup 2014-Semi-Final- Match Report: Netherlands 0 – Argentina 0 (2-4 on penalties)”

  1. CinematiqueChic July 10, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    I’m with you on wishing they could’ve both lost, but even though I don’t want Messi to get his hands on the World Cup, collectively the Dutch NT bother me more. And even though there’s no way to prove that this was the reason they lost, I will forever be amused by the possibility that van Gaal undermined Cillessen’s confidence by pulling that switcheroo against Costa Rica, and then got stuck using him in the next penalty shoot out.

    Now come on Germany! I think they’re gonna do it. The football gods couldn’t be so cruel as to let Argentina win the World Cup on Brazilian soil (I hope).

    • Natalie July 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      I am so with you. I never really wanted Messy to get the world cup, but after the way Dutch behaved against Costa Rica, i didn’t want their paws on it either. (and normally I am not against the dutch).
      And all I can say to Kurl and his bullying of Costa Rican player, KARMA!!!

      Well, either way, the teams fought over the right to be completely taken apart by clinical and efficient Germany

      • jellyace July 12, 2014 at 1:01 am #

        I am so with both of you. My schadenfreude fantasy is for Messi to end his career without ever winning the biggest award, the World Cup. And I never liked the Dutch. But if there is one team that deserves the WC this year, it would be Germany.

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