Thursday, July 10, 2014

FIFA World Cup - Argentina Holds Its Nerve

I did not expect Argentina to hold their own in the semi final against Netherlands. The Dutch had more possession, more strikes and constantly pushed Argentina to the wall but some outstanding defending by the Argentinians kept them in the game. As the game progressed beyond normal time and into extra time somehow it seemed that the Dutch would find a way through and end this solid defence. Everything pointed to that. Everything except the result.

Come penalties and it was a complete shift in energy. The Dutch began weakly and Romero stopped the first penalty. It was good to see Messi walk up and take the first shot - I believe that the best guys should go up front unlike what Brazil did, though successfully, with Neymar. Messi, all in control, compact as a fist, ambled up with no attempts to feint, stop, fall - he just ambled in and kicked the ball as naturally as any, picking his spot with no problem. So natural did the entire act seem that you believe that these guys and the ball are one unit almost. Then you see the others and the magic vanishes. Mortals come on and it is a game of dice again. But then the Robben penalty was a revelation too. He just deposited it in the farthest corner of the net with minimum of fuss and something about the way he did it hinted that he could do it all day. The save Romero made off Schneider was a blinder and worthy of the result that he got for his team.

As the commentator said - its a delicious final. South America versus Europe. Argentina versus Germany. With Di Maria back, Argentina will have more teeth. Ah, now we wait for the final at Maracana.

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