Saving grace (World Cup Second Semifinal) ●
Argentina won over Netherlands 4-2, in penalties
Argentine defense and midfield showed real character stopping Holland’s ferocious forwards such as Robben and Van Persie and putting few mild pressures back on them. That is a huge development for Argentina from the way they started this tournament.
In the process they have lost bit of that quintessential South American flair & surprise but that’s fine. Their conservative gameplay involving long ball possession and dropping way back to deny any kind of space for Holland’s attackers survived them from any kind of Brazilian landslide.
Messi got few balls when he was not sorrounded by more than 3 people & also created chances but he was more of an inspiration than champion last night. However Higuan, Zamolleta & Mascherano were the real heroes. They kept pressure from the right wing, covered for each other & showed real skills in tactful passing.
But in the end it came down to goalkeepers, like so many times in this World Cup. Van Gaal surprisingly made his last substitution in the form of a winger in the extra time and not Krul.
And it costed them the match. Ramos on the other hand made one of the most scintillating saves in penalties in recent times.
Argentina did not look like a threat to Germany by their calm & composed play. But we can’t just write them out. I am happy that it’s not going to be again another all European affair. There is still hope for South Americans to keep the cup with them, although against an opponent who are like a hungry lion in front of the same prey that has been snatched away from him multiple times in the past.