2 - 4
So that is your lot. Argentina are in the final. The Germans will be delighted it went the distance but it will be one serious spectacle. Incredible scenes as the Argentine players celebrate with a jig in front of their fans. Thanks for joining us.
NED 2-4 ARG: Maxi Rodriguez thunders his effort in. Cillessen gets a hand to it but it is in.
NED 2-3 ARG: Kuyt, calm as you like, keeps the Dutch in it.
NED 1-3 ARG: Aguero is lucky to see his effort go under Cillessen.
NED 1-2 ARG: Sneijder has his penalty saved. It was in the corner but at a decent height. Still, great save.
NED 1-2 ARG: Garay blasts the ball into the top of the net.
NED 1-1 ARG: Robben sends Romero the wrong way.
NED 0-1 ARG: Messi strokes his penalty home and sends the keeper the wrong way.
NED 0-0 ARG: Saved. Vlaar’s penalty is saved by Romero.
So it is the Netherlands who go first!
Can the Dutch do it? We are about to see!

2 - Only one team has won two penalty shootouts in a single World Cup (Argentina in 1990). Rare.

And that is that. Penalties!
That was the last chance!
The Netherlands work the ball well through midfield and out wide. The cross finds Kuyt on the edge of the box but his half volley is blocked.
Robben breaks the offside trap and is away down the left but Mascherano is there with the tackle. Throw.
Messi evades two challenges down the left and he lifts a ball to the back post for Maxi Rodriguez. He hits a tame volley into the ground and it fails to threaten the goal of Cillessen
He was clean through there! Poor from Palacio.
THAT WAS THE CHANCE! Maxi Rodriguez lifts the ball over the Dutch defence and Palacio is in on goal. He panics though and tries to head the ball over Cillessen, who claims with ease.
Maxi Rodriguez, who replaced Lavezzi, has been quiet but he gets a spot of space and his cross is blocked. It ricochets back off him and that is a Dutch throw.
Both teams look to have settled for penalties here with both defences camped deep. However, Aguero looks for a ball in the right channel but Vlaar is across to slide in and clear.
Mascherano finds Messi but his attempted lay-off is straight to De Vrij. He strides forward but slices across the ball from 35 yards out and it never threatens the goal of Romero.
Aguero looks for Palacio in behind but the ball has far, far too much purchase on it.
Argentina down to ten for the time being.
There is a coming-together between Zabaleta and Kuyt. Zabaleta comes off worse and he looks in trouble – that was a solid connection he just took to the jaw.
WOW! He may only need one touch though - Messi, as we all know, is that good!
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105 - Lionel Messi has failed to make a single touch in the opposite box so far in this game. Shy.

And the Netherlands get this second period started. 15 minutes to separate them.
The corner is headed clear and that is that for the first half of extra time.
Cillessen comes to clear under pressure. Argentina recycle the ball and work it wide to Palacio – his cross is just out of Aguero’s reach but Janmaat puts it out for a corner.
Netherlands Yellow card



Mascherano leads a charge through central midfield but is hauled back by Huntelaar. Free-kick halfway inside the Dutch half that Messi clips in. Huntelaar in the book.
The game is getting a little more stretched but if you were a betting kind of person you would be betting on penalties.

#NED 0-0 #ARG (102')- This is the 34th World Cup semifinal, and none of the previous 33 have ended with no goals

The Dutch are now offering more going forward but that is affording Messi a little more space. Twice in succession the Barca man skips past a challenge but can’t find the pass to release a teammate.
Messi looks to flick the ball through to Aguero but Vlaar manages to step in to clear.
Argentina Substitution
Messi feeds Palacio down the right channel but his cross is easily cleared. Argentina work it wide to Rojo who then lashes a cross wildly out of play.
Robben steps inside Biglia with a shimmy of his hips and he takes aim from 25 yards out and right of centre but Romero claims.
The corner is over-hit and cleared. The Dutch work it wide to Sneijder but his cross goes out for a goal kick. Poor.
Robben works a yard with a nutmeg inside the box but his centre for Huntelaar, who has just replaced Van Persie, is cleared for a corner.
Sounds about right – both sides have struggled to create.

0 - #NED have failed to register a single shot on target in a World Cup game for first time in their history (1966-2014). Dry.

Netherlands Substitution
The Dutch work the ball wide to Kuyt on the left but he comes back on his right to cross. It is always swinging out for a goal kick.
Interesting little stat there. Can Argentina use their added experience?

Most ET in World Cup history: [11] Italy [10] Germany [08] ARGENTINA and England [07] Brazil and France [06] Belgium, Spain and Netherlands

The Netherlands start the half with a period of pressure. Blind goes long for Van Persie and Demichelis wins the first header. Van Persie then backs into Zabaleta and that is a free-kick.
So Argentina get us going again.
The referee blows up for full-time. Extra time it is, then.
Janmaat and Robben exchange passes down the right but Janmaat, looking across the line, is offside.
Sneijder’s corner is punched clear by Romero! Three minutes of added time.
Robben bursts through the Argentina defence following a lay-off from Sneijder but takes the extra touch and Mascherano comes marauding across with an unbelievable tackle. Corner.
Can either side grab a winner?

2010 - The last #ARG player to score in a World Cup game as a substitute was Martin Palermo against #GRE in the 2010 World Cup. Spirit.

Messi evades a tackle or two and slips a ball between the Dutch defence to Aguero, who inexplicably looks to cross when he would have been better served shooting. It is blocked and Kuyt hacks clear.
The corner is headed clear but only to Clasie some 35 yards out. His effort is tame and out for a goal kick.
Robben getting some space down the left but Demichelis, on a yellow, comes across to time the tackle very well.
This game has opened up all of a sudden with both teams aware that one goal will probably seal it.
Messi works himself some space in the centre of midfield and slips the ball wide to Rojo, who lashes an effort at goal from 30 yards out and at an angle. Cillessen claims with ease.
Argentina Substitution
Robben finds some space down the left but his cross is too close to Romero, who claims with ease.
Argentina Substitution
Alejandro Sabella looking to make a double change – Aguero one of the players set to enter the fray.
Messi looks to work a yard but Van Persie of all people is back in his own half making the challenge. It has been that kind of a game.
It has been a tense night and that was quite the chance. Will they regret it?

First moment of quality of the second half (the game?) - Perez with sublime, curling cross for Higuain, who stabs into side-netting.

Looked like a goal! Higuain slides in and looks like he had poked a cross from Perez in at the near post but it is one that catches the side netting instead.
Chance! Robben feeds Janmaat down the right who centres for Van Persie but he can only flick over the bar. He was offside, though, so would not have counted.
Robben is pulling wider and wider as he looks to get some space. Kuyt spots him and looks for the switch from left to right but it has too much on it. Throw.
The set-piece from Messi is horribly deep and it flies out for a goal kick.
Vlaar with an unorthodox head sliding tackle on Higuain down the right and near the byline. It is a free-kick and Messi is over it.
Rojo and Lavezzi work some space down the left. Lavezzi comes inside into the box and just as it looks like things are about to open up for the PSG man he fires straight at the legs of Vlaar.
Janmaat wins a brave header that sees the Netherlands break. Robben works it wide to Kuyt but his cross is too deep. Garay heads it clear and then out for a throw.
Clasie hauls back Messi and Argentina have a free-kick that they work wide to Zabaleta. He looks for a one-two but a Dutch toe steals in. The Dutch break.
The Netherlands look better already with Clasie. He has set a decent tempo for the Dutch thus far. It will be interesting to see how this tips the balance, as Messi already looks like he has more space.
Clasie gets a couple of early touches but he is a very different player compared to De Jong. More of a passing holding midfield player.
Argentina are down to ten momentarily.
Van Gaal makes the switch and Clasie comes on for De Jong – will that free up Messi?
Netherlands Substitution
The Netherlands break with Robben and Janmaat. The latter overruns the ball and slides in but catches Biglia on the edge of the box. That looks quite painful and we have a slight stoppage for treatment.
Clasie warming up for the Dutch.
Now the Netherlands have a little spot of possession. De jong swings it wide to Kuyt, who, in turn, puts it into the box but it is just ahead of the run of Wijnaldum.
Lavezzi finds some space down the right and he manages to work a yard of space before lifting a ball into the box. Higuain rises and looks set to head on goal but Janmaat manages to get his head to it first.
Argentina in the ascendancy here as they stroke the ball around in front of the Dutch, who seem happy to sit rigidly deep.
Just a slight suggestion these last few minutes that this game is opening up.
Great challenge. Messi is found in a pocket of space some 30 yards out and Vlaar looks like he is trouble but produces a majestic slide tackle to steal the ball.
Higuain gets a favourable break of the ball but it gets away from him and he fouls De Jong. The Netherlands play the free-kick forward quickly to Robben who can run at the Argentina defence. He gets past Demichelis but Biglia manages to get back at him to bring the move to a halt.
Messi has a run at the Dutch backline but he is crowded out by a gaggle of defenders and that has been the tale of this game so far; very, very congested.
Messi thinks he has sprung the offside trap and is in a foot race with Cillessen. Alas, for the Argentine he had gone a fraction too soon. That was one straight ball out of defence, though, to set him free.
Sneijder looks to beat Romero from distance with the free-kick but it is high, wide and handsome. He has been poor, thus far.
Demichelis goes through Robben as the Bayern man looked to turn. That is a free-kick 30 yards out and left of centre. Sneijder over it. Yellow for the Man City man.
Argentina Yellow card



Garay, under no pressure, lashes the ball out for a throw. The explanation for that bizarre turn of events was that Garay had lost one of his boots but he has put his side under pressure.
De Vrij blocks off Perez as he looks to escape down the left – even though that was on the half way line it really should have been a yellow. Free-kick comes to nothing.
The Netherlands get the second forty five underway.
Janmaat is on for Martins Indi, which suggests a back four for the Netherlands. Blind at left-back and Janmaat on the right.
Surely Robben won't be that quiet come the second half.
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6 - Arjen Robben has made 6 touches in the 1st half of #NED-#ARG, none in the opposite box. Lonely.

And this stat quite aptly sums up the first half.

RT @OptaJoe: 1 - Arjen Robben attempted just one pass in the first half against #ARG. Inconspicuous.

Netherlands Substitution
Lavezzi tries to claim the over-hit cross but Martins Indi sees him off and lashes the ball clear - and that is it from the first half.
Messi finds Rojo in space with Higuain lurking in the centre of the box but the full-back over-hits the cross with the Dutch all over the place. That was a chance.
Messi puts the free-kick into the far post but Cillessen collects with ease. It matters little as the referee blows for a foul. Two minutes of the added stuff!
Netherlands Yellow card



Vlaar slides in to keep the ball from going out of play. He slides the ball up the line but Messi collects and skips past two challenges with a delightful sleight of foot before Martins Indi hauls him back. Yellow for the defender.
It is the Dutch’s turn to have a period of concerted possession. De Vrij goes long for Robben but once again it is headed clear.
The Netherlands have a free-kick some forty yards out and left of centre. Sneijder sweeps the ball in but it is easily headed clear.
Argentina looking the more threatening but Messi gives away a silly foul 30 yards from goal. Very, very tight and tense out there.
Rojo and Perez exchange passes as they look to get in behind down the left but the Netherlands re-group. Higuain wins a throw from Martins Indi.
Argentina play the free-kick short but a loose pass allows Kuyt to get in and hack clear.
Sneijder with another loose ball and Argentina break. Messi charges forward and Messi gets blocked off by Martins Indi. Sneijder is also down so there is a slight hiatus for the physios to come on.
Lavezzi gets in the space behind Blind again and he sweeps a ball across looking for Higuain but Vlaar is alert to it to clear.
Our man at the stadium reports on some of the fans' antics in the stadium.

"Siete, siete!" chant the Argentina fans. That means "seven", in case you didn't know. #bra #ned #ar

Lavezzi looks for Higuain but he had gone just a fraction too soon.
Robben wins a corner, Romero has to punch. The ball comes right back in and he punches again. Ball comes back in again as Argentina struggle to clear their lines and Van Persie goes down under the challenge of Demichelis. The Dutchman was in an offside position though.
Sneijder has been very, very quiet thus far. We were at 5-0 this time last night.
Higuain with a loose touch as another move breaks down.
Argentina will be happy with the work around Robben thus far.
Mascherano is back on – not sure about that decision.
Mascherano is down after a clash of heads – we have a slight hiatus. There are some concerns for the Barca man. He walks off but may not be able to continue.
That is a stat for you right there...

That moment when you realise that if #Arg make the final, only Bayern [6] will likely have more starters than Lazio [2 with MCFC, Barca]

De Jong looks for Van Persie in behind but RVP has just strayed offside - lack of quality on show thus far.
Lavezzi whips the corner in and Garay dives in to head over under pressure from Vlaar.
Lavezzi crosses but there is no one in the box. Argentina recycle the ball and Perez looks to exchange passes with Messi but Vlaar intervenes and that is a corner.
Kuyt feeds Van Persie in the channel but his cross is cleared. Lavezzi breaks…
His corner is headed clear by Van Persie.
There is hope for this to get a little less cagey. Lavezzi wins another corner.

RT @OptaFranz: 15 – Since 1998 (Kluivert v Argentina) #NED haven’t scored in the opening 15 minutes of a WC match. Patience. #NEDARG

Messi swings the corner over but De Jong hacks clear.
Perez finds Zabaleta down the right and he centres for Higuain but De Vrij gets there first to clear for a corner.
Martins Indi goes long for Robben but Garay heads clear.
With the way this game is going, you get the feeling that it will be one moment of magic that seals it. Very cagey thus far.
It is well struck as he elects to go around the wall rather than over it. Cillessen claims with ease.
Perez gets hauled back by Vlaar some 20 or so yards from goal. Free-kick in Messi territory, right of centre.
Robben looks to get in behind but Mascherano comes across with a smart challenge but his clearance is loose and Sneijder finds himself in time and space some 25 yards out. His effort is wide.
Van Persie clears a set-piece but his clearance drops on the edge. Perez gets under the effort though and it is high and wide.
Messi finds himself in a bit of space on the edge of the Netherlands box but Kuyt gets back at him to steal the ball.
Some whistles from the crowd as they grow impatient. Rojo intercepts a big switch of play and it is now Argentina’s turn to have the ball.
The Netherlands coming into it now – they utilise their wing backs well to work the ball well through midfield but Argentina are sat deep. The men in orange continue to probe.

Neither team over keen to commit men forward so far...

Robben has his first run with the ball but Zabaleta forces him away from goal before thundering into a slide tackle. Throw.
A far, far less frenetic start to this game compared to last night’s match. Argentina quicken the pace though but Perez gets it lost under his feet. Vlaar hacks clear.
Will be very interesting to see how Argentina react if they go a goal behind.

Argentina still not been behind all WC... Netherlands have trailed v Spain, Australia & Mexico...

Argentina start with a long ball in behind but Cillessen is alert to it to claim and start the Netherlands' first attack.
We have a moment’s silence for the great Alfredo Di Stefano before Argentina get us started.
So the teams are out and the national anthems are being sung. Both sides are wearing their ‘home kits’!
For teamsheet aficionados amongst you, here is the full teamsheet for either side, courtesy of one Oliver Holt.
What some further pre-match reading? You do, well here you go.
Netherlands have lost only two of their 12 World Cup games against South American teams, not including penalty shoot-outs (1978 final v Argentina and 1994 quarter-final v Brazil).
Argentina have reached their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, when they went on to finish runners-up to West Germany, and La Albiceleste have progressed from all three of their World Cup semi-finals.
Alejandro Sabella: "We gave our all, it's a World Cup, it doesn't happen every day. Now we need to play well and try and reach the final. There are two matches left to achieve this beautiful dream. After 24 years this is a good tribute to this squad. They will go down in history as one of the best four teams in the world and we will see if they can go one step more."
In the build-up to this game Van Gaal was in particularly spiky mood: "I only saw one half of the Argentina match. The beginning was in favour of Argentina and after that, it was Belgium who dominated. I thought Belgium was the better team in the first half. Argentina have strong individual qualities. If the gentleman next to you says Argentina always attacks, well that was not the case against Belgium. Not in the first half. "
With both teams set to pack the midfield, Argentine Lionel Messi and Dutchman Arjen Robben will be charged with producing thrilling moments of skill that could decide who heads to Rio for the final. So how do you stop them?
Angel di Maria is a big miss for Alejandro Sabella, so it is a front three of Lavezzi, Messi, and Higuain for Argentina, with Enzo Perez coming in to the midfield. Martin Demichelis makes a second start of the World Cup while Marcos Rojo returns to the left-back role after his suspension.
So, Louis van Gaal is able to call on the services of both Nigel de Jong and Robin van Persie. RVP had been struggling with a stomach upset but the inclusion of De Jong is the real surprise. He was ‘ruled out’ of the tournament early last week. Van Gaal has made some bold decisions this tournament and they have mostly paid off but will the risk he has taken with these players pay dividends?
TEAMS: Netherlands: Cillessen; Kuyt, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Blind; De Jong, Sneijder, Wijnaldum; Robben, Van Persie /// Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo, Pérez, Biglia, Mascherano, Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE coverage from Arena de Sao Paulo, where the Netherlands face Argentina for the right to play Germany in Sunday’s final.

Starting Line-ups

    • Cillessen
    • Martins Indi
    • 2
    • de Vrij
    • Blind
    • de Jong
    • Wijnaldum
    • 15
    • Sneijder
    • 11
    • 16
      van Persie
Team Manager:  Guus Hiddink
    • Higuaín
    • 8
    • Messi
    • Lavezzi
    • Biglia
    • Mascherano
    • Zabaleta
    • Demichelis
    • Garay
    • Rojo
    • Romero
Team Manager:  Gerardo Martino
Goalkeepers G SAV GC GK FC FS Y R PEN Mins
J. Cillessen 0 4 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 120
R. Vlaar 0 0 0 4 12 0 2 0 0 0 0 120
S. de Vrij 0 0 1 3 6 0 2 1 0 0 0 120
Martins Indi 0 0 0 2 1 0 2 0 1 0 0 45
Midfielders G GA SHO PAS FK COR FC FS Y R PEN Mins
D. Kuyt 0 0 0 80 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 120
D. Blind 0 0 0 71 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 120
G. Wijnaldum 0 0 0 57 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 120
N. de Jong 0 0 0 44 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 62
A. Robben 0 0 1 36 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 120
W. Sneijder 0 0 2 54 1 4 0 3 0 0 0 120
R. van Persie 0 0 0 11 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 96
Goalkeepers G SAV GC GK FC FS Y R PEN Mins
S. Romero 0 1 0 13 0 0 0 0 0 120
M. Demichelis 0 0 0 3 8 0 2 0 1 0 0 120
P. Zabaleta 0 0 0 3 5 0 2 1 0 0 0 120
E. Garay 0 0 1 2 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 120
M. Rojo 0 0 1 3 3 0 2 1 0 0 0 120
Midfielders G GA SHO PAS FK COR FC FS Y R PEN Mins
L. Biglia 0 0 0 60 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 120
J. Mascherano 0 0 0 88 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 120
L. Messi 0 0 1 40 1 1 1 3 0 0 0 120
E. Lavezzi 0 0 0 17 0 2 0 1 0 0 0 101
E. Pérez 0 0 0 47 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 81
G. Higuaín 0 0 1 17 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 82
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