Argentina will face Germany in the Finals after beating Holland 4-2 in Penalties!

Lionel Messi, the best player of his generation, now faces the best team of this World Cup, Germany, in Sunday’s mouth-watering final in Rio. Messi was one of Argentina’s four successful penalty-takers as they deservedly overcame the ultra-defensive Dutch after two stultifying hours of football.

The Germans must have been looking on from afar, smiling at the sight of their next opponents straining their sinews in the rain. They will have looked at Argentina and know they are superior, particularly if they can ensnare Messi as the Dutch did.

Messi is a special player, a talent who deserves this final chance, but he was unable to impose himself until the shoot-out. But he now has the stage to parade his undeniable gifts. The world will be watching. Those who chronicle the first draft of history will judge on events at Maracana whether Messi can be hailed as a legend of the game along with his compatriot Diego Maradona, with Pele, the man who so graced Maracana, and with Alfredo di Stefano, whose memory was saluted emotionally before kick-off here.

Victory for Messi and company ensures the re-establishment of one of the great historic World Cup fixtures, a match that has been decided down the years by shoot-outs, by German routs, even a post-match ruck and most famously in two finals.

Sunday represents a repeat of the 1986 World Cup final whenArgentina prevailed in the Azteca in Mexico City. It will give Messi the opportunity to match the Maradona, who was tightly marked by the West Germans but still managed to sweep that pass through for Jorge Burruchaga to beat Harald Schumacher and win the trophy. Messi was closely shadowed by the Dutch and he faces a huge task to unravel Germany’s defence.

It is also a repeat of the climax of Italia 90 when this time the Germans won with a late penalty kick from Andreas Brehme in Rome. Pope Francis will have been watching on with interest, supporting his native Argentina as they held their nerve in penalties.

Holland had to look to Jasper Cillessen as their keeper for the shoot-out as Louis van Gaal had used up all his subs so was unable to bring on Tim Krul, who had thwarted Costa Rica in the quarter-finals. But this was all about Argentina’s keeper, about Sergio Romero, who had played under Van Gaal at AZ Alkmaar.

It was surprising seeing a defender, Ron Vlaar, walking up to take Holland’s first penalty. Vlaar had been terrific all game, making key interceptions, but it was still a shock with more technical players available. Romero promptly saved from the Aston Villa centre-half and the pressure was heaped on Holland.

Cillessen tried to put Messi off but the little genius stayed calm, and swept his penalty home. Arjen Robben stepped forward, and coolly slotted his kick low to Romero’s left. Ezequiel Garay took a long run-up and slammed his penalty in, keeping the pressure on the Dutch.

Next up was Wesley Sneijder, whose right-footed shot was saved by Romero as the Argentina fans went crazy with delight. Their joy was unconfined when Sergio Aguero stroked his kick in. Dirk Kuyt had to score and he did, sending Romero the wrong way. But then came Maxi Rodriguez, formerly of Liverpool, converting the decisive kick. A broad smile spread across Messi’s face.

When Messi’s name was read out almost three hours earlier, Argentinian cheers drowned out mock Dutch boos. Yet one of Messi’s first acts was to foul Nigel De Jong, slightly against the natural order. With the Dutch defensive and organised, Messi was faced with a difficult task to escape the orange maze.

Few of the stars got going before the break. Robin Van Persie and Robben were disappointing, failing to elude Argentinian defenders who had shown real signs of improvement as the World Cup has progressed and have now not been breached for 373 minutes.

Far from the highs of the other semi-final Belo Horizonte, this was low key. The game shifted listlessly from end to end. Argentina were marginally the brighter. “Messi, Messi” chorused the fans in blue and white as their idol addressed a free-kick. Messi struck the ball low and hard, sending it curling round the wall but it was superbly caught by Cillessen, diving to his right.

Both sets of supporters sought to lift their players. The Argentinians leapt up and down, waving scarves, flags and banners. The Dutch formed splashes of orange all around Arena Corinthians. There were some Brazilians in attendance, but still subdued after Belo Horizonte.

The neatest touch of the half came from a keeper, Cillessen, who dummied Gonzalo Higuain with a body swerve that Johan Cruyff would have been proud of. After a couple of seconds, and with the ball safely transferred forward, Cillessen glanced back at Higuain, who stared back, unimpressed.

Messi was finding little pockets of space but was also finding Dutch in close company. De Jong was never further than a few yards away. Sneijder tracked him. So did Daley Blind, and most painfully Bruno Martins Indi, who deliberately baulked the No 10 twice and was booked.

The game was meandering. Robben and Van Persie were failing to link up.

Argentina kept trying to break through the Dutch defence but found Vlaar indomitable. Rather unrecognisable from his Aston Villa self, Vlaar dispossessed Higuain but then conceded a free-kick with a challenge on the Argentinian No 9 which had something of the line-backer about it.

Messi continued to be stopped through fair means and foul, such as a body-check from Clasie. As Messi recovered, Perez flew down the right, drilling a cross towards the near-post but Higuain could find only the side-netting.

Higuain and Enzo Perez were then taken off for Sergio Aguero and Rodrigo Palacio. Cillessen was almost caught out by a Marcos Rojo long-ranger. Robben almost prevented extra time with a driving run down the inside-left channel. He could have shot earlier but took the extra touch, allowing Javier Mascherano to stretch out a leg and divert his shot.

During extra time, Robben went on one of those runs but ran down a cul de sac. He then cut in from the right, wrong-footing Rojo and bringing a low save from Romero. Almost 100 minutes and the Dutch had their first shot on target.

Argentina, missing the creativity of the injured Angel Di Maria, formed another huddle, taking more words of inspiration from Alejandro Sabella at the midway point of extra time. Cillessen then turned Aguero as confidently as he had guided the ball past Higuain. Palacio could have won it when clear through but his header was too weak and Cillessen caught the ball easily. Messi then raced away from Vlaar and Kuyt, lifting in a cross that Rodriguez wasted, shooting straight at Cillessen. He made no mistake with his penalty, giving Messi, Argentina and their huge hordes of fans their final dream. In Brazil’s backyard.

Scolari: Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany ‘Worst Day of My Life.. I Won’t Resign’

Luiz Felipe Scolari apologised to the people of Brazil after they were humiliated 7-1 in the World Cup semi-final by Germany.

Scolari, who insists he will not resign after this shameful defeat, said: ‘My message is, to the Brazilian people and fans, that we did and we tried to do what we could.

‘Please excuse us for this mistake. I’m sorry we couldn’t get to the final. This is a catastrophe.

‘It’s probably the worst moment of my career. This is the worst day of my life, but life goes on.

‘I’ll be remembered probably because I lost 7-1, the worst defeat Brazil have ever had, but that was a risk I knew I was running when I accepted this position. Life goes on. That’s what I’ll do.

‘We did what we thought was our best, and we lost to a great team that had the team, in six or seven minutes, to end the game with three or four goals in extraordinary manner.

‘I can tell you that, after the first goal, we had a problem and, with the skills of a team who have been working together for a long time, they capitalised on it.

‘We will continue working and honouring what our team means for the third place match in Brasilia. ‘I’d like to thank the supporters for supporting the players despite us losing by five, six, seven. It was interesting to see that happen.’

Germany to the finals after beating Brazil 7-1, and Klose becomes the World Cup all-time leading scorer!

Highlight:  Klose becomes the World Cup all-time leading scorer!

90 mins +: Oscar (Brazil) Scores!

87 mins: Some of these are career low performances. Hulk, the poor bloke is a laughing stock. Ditto Fred. Luiz, well all the bad bits have been in full effect. Marcelo probably the worst of the lot, just wandering up the left wing, missing from his post time and again. In the time it’s taken me to type that, he has lost the ball 30 yards from goal and luckily for him Schurrle fails with the cross. And now Marcelo has gone missing and let Lahm in. Literally, two separate horrible mistakes in ten seconds.

85 mins: Good move from Brazil ends with Ramires shooting from outside the box.

84 mins: Brazil playing well in fits and starts.

80 mins: Paulinho knocks it down for Marcelo, who shoots a couple of yards wide. Neuer rushes to get the ball to restart. Steady on old chap. “Neuer is programmed to win,” says Martin Keown. That was Ivan Drago, wasn’t it Martin?

GoalGOAL! Nope. That is the best goal yet. Surging run down the left, inside to Schurrle and he has lashed it home with a magnifcent finish.

76 mins: Marcelo gives it away cheaply. Handbags between Luiz and Muller, the Brazil man looks like he’s losing the rag. Red card for the captain would be a fitting final indignity. Ref chills everyone down.Michelle Mcmahon:

Germany needs to remember they are guests and have some manners. No more! On the other hand…The German (Shepherd) I live with is strutting. Annoying. Typical. German. He’s winning his predictions.

75 mins: Several minutes have elapsed without the Germans scoring, the big losers, so they bring on Julian Draxler – who always sounds like a techno DJ to me. This the musical equivalent of nosebleed gabber at 11am in a Rotterdam shipping container yard. for the Brazil players/fans. The super Khedira is the man who goes off.

70 mins: As to David’s question, Brazil’s attack has totally sucked, like their defence. I guess that the defensive mistakes are more glaring.

69 mins: Big Phil puts Fred out of his misery, not a green tent job fortunately, but takes him off and brings on Willian. The crowd boo Fred off. Now they boo Fred every time the camera picks him out sitting on the bench. Harsh. David:

E-mailAlan would you agree that with the terrible defending by Brazil perhaps Thiago Silva is a bigger loss than Neymar?

GoalGOAL! Best goal of the lot I think. So patient, so clinical from Germany. Khedira the creator, he plays it into Lahm, who has surged forward up the right. Skipper has the composure to pick out a man in the box and it’s Schurrle who has time to place the shot past the keeper. So many of the finishes have been so calm, made to look so easy. Nobody has had to do anything much to take his goal, the Brazil defence just being so out of position. Brazil 0 Germany 6 (Schurrle)

68 mins: Dante the first man in the book.

67 mins: Fred has what looks like a brilliant chance but he is off-side.

66 mins: Scheweinsteiger with a raking ball, excellent save from Cesar to cut it out before Schurrle can nick it.

64 mins: Muller, what a player this boy is, down the left, opening Brazil up on the break, crosses and that’s only an inch away from finding the free and fabulous Schurrle. Andrew Holgate:

In 1954 Austria came from 3-0 down to win 7-5 vs Switzerland, while England and Belgium shared a 4-4 draw. Both record games (goals scored in one game, biggest deficit to win, highest score draw).

63 mins: Maicon reckons he has been brought down in the box. The Germans reckon Maicon should have a yellow for diving.

61 mins: And now Khedira and Muller link up well, the latter curling a fine shot at goal. Excellent save. Juan Carlos Gonzalez-Najera:

E-mailIt’s pointless to bring it up now, but again, why is Fred in this team? Surely he cannot be among the best Brazilian attackers in the world? Because if he is, Brazil has a very long road to travel before they can come back for the next cup.

60 mins: Normal service has been resumed, Muller skips around the keeper and that’s a heroic dive by Cesar to nick the ball off him.

58 mins: Another chance for Brazil, playing pretty well now, but sadly it falls to Fred who, well, you can guess the rest. Wrong Said Fred.

57 mins: Klose comes off. Not a bad hour’s work. Schurrle on Robert Stewart:

E-mailAt current rate of progress Brazil will come fifth in the third place play-off. On a more serious note one cannot help but feel sorry for the Brazilians who have ended up paying for the extravaganza. Let’s hope they redeem some pride.

55 mins: Brazil all over the Germans right now. Muller having a magnificent game at front and now back as well, charging back and hurling himself into important tackles. Thulisani:

E-mailGood Lord, I didnt think missin Neymar wld take Brazil so out of it, I too wish they cld just throw in the towel(s). Funny too earlier today I read an article on 5 reasons why Germany will will, well maybe there is saving face for Brasil coz there was 3reasons they cld hold off Germany too.

53 mins: Paulinho! The sloppy Germans are all over the place, disgraceful, they’ll be wanting to raise their game here or, well, they’ll only win eight nil. Lofted ball over to Paulinho on the left, he’s got time and space. He has to score. He hits it straight at the keeper. Comes back at him but he fails with the follow-up as well. Neuer with the double save.Lamas:

E-mailI wanted Brazil punished, but not this bad. At least it won’t get as bad Australia vs American Samoa. Right?

52 mins: Oh dear. Oh Brazil. They should have scored. Oscar at the fore, they’ve opened up the Germans and here’s Fred with the chance! He just sort of tumbles over, like a sad and dying tree. Jean Sullivan:

E-mailAs a neutral for this match, it is still a nightmare. And just when you want to say that Germany has deserved this blow-out they seem to be thinking it’s fine to push Brazil players over at will. Is there such a thing as a clean game at this stage?

50 mins: Brazil play their best stuff of the match, and Ramires gets to the byline, that’s a good effort by Neuer to cut out the cross. Sai:

E-mailOh My Gosh!!! I’ve refreshed my browser after I saw scoreboard changing from Brazil 0 -2 Germany to Brazil 0 -4 Germany. Few minutes later when I saw Brazil 0 -5 Germany, I thought there might virus/spam attack on my browser. I’m in the office on the west coast of USA -I do not know if Germany is prudent or if Brazil is lackadaisical today.

48 mins: Decent start from Brazil, Maicon wit the ball in, Oscar into the box, tries to dink it over the German defender and just runs into him. Ref not buying the penalty claim.

46 mins: Some subs. Fernandinho is the lucky man to be taken off. Paulinho can have a dose. The hapless Hulk comes off for Ramires. For the Germans, Hummels gets a rest and Mertesacker gets his chance.


HALF TIME BRAZIL 0 GERMANY 5 (AND YES THAT’S FIVE GOALS)Not sure I’ve seen anything like that. Khedira the pick, a lot of the Germans very good but wow. Brazil. Just utterly awful, so slow, so disorganised, so confused. Feel genuinely sorry for them.

Who better than Alan Hansen to assess this defence misery? “In the annals of time there has never been a game like this, a humiliation like this. It is about four levels below rock bottom. It is embarrassing. David Luiz is the captain and he has abandoned ship.”

43 mins: BBC commentator: “Joachim Low is strolling around his technical area like a man on a walk through a bluebell wood.” Yeah, that does sound pretty annoying. And German. Brazil have a freekick. The refereeing equivalent of the pity bunk-up. It comes to nowt.

41 mins: A rare chance for Brazil to get out of their own half as Oscar has a run at goal. Stopped by a brick wall of German. Loads and loads of emails coming in, we’ll get to them at the half if that is okay.

39 mins: Ozil with a lovely run, it looks for a minute that Brazil are going to be assuming the position once again as Klose and Muller exchange passes, but Dante – he’s in a circle of hell alright – manages to get a leg in the way.

Neymar JR’s first Video Message after Injury: We’ll be World Cup Champions It’s Not Over Yet!

Brazil star Neymar speaks to the nation promising they “we’ll be World cup champions” despite him being unable to continue in the competition due to breaking a vertebra during the Colombia-Brazil quarter final.

In a video message Brazil’s star player told the nation not to stop dreaming because they could still win the World Cup, despite him being unable to play due to a broken vertebra.

Neymar was ruled out of the World Cup with a broken bone in his back sustained in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia on Friday.

In an emotional message to the public Neymar said that his dream “was not over yet”.

“Rest assured that my teams mates will do everything for me to fulfil my dream to be champion.

“My dream was also to play in a world cup final this time it will not be possible, but rest assured that they will win this one and Brazil will be champions.”

Related News:

Brazil asks FIFA to overturn Thiago Silva’s ban

The Brazilian football confederation is trying to overturn captain Thiago Silva’s ban for Tuesday’s World Cup semifinal against Germany.

FIFA spokesman Delia Fischer on Sunday said the disciplinary committee is ”analyzing material” submitted by Brazil.

Thiago Silva impeded Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina’s attempt to kick the ball downfield during Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Colombia, picking up his second yellow card of the tournament and incurring an automatic suspension for the next match.

Yellow cards traditionally cannot be overturned.

The FIFA disciplinary code states that cautions can be canceled only in ”exceptional circumstances.”

At the 1962 World Cup, Brazil star Garrincha was sent off in the semifinals victory against host Chile, then was cleared to play in the final. Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3-1.

Now, no player can be suspended for the final just for receiving a yellow card in the semifinals.

FIFA wipes all single yellow cards from players’ disciplinary records after the quarterfinals round

Argentina to the Semifinal after beating Belgium 1-0!

Argentina to the Semifnal after beating Belgium 1-0 (Goal by Gonzalo Higuain at 8′)

The South Americans limped past Switzerland in the last 16 after overcoming Ottmar Hitzfeld’s team 1-0 in extra-time and will face even tougher European opponents in the last eight.

Belgium overcame a stubborn USA side to advance to their first quarter-final since 1986 but will have to improve on their poor finishing from that 2-1 extra-time victory to progress past one of the pre-tournamant favourites.


Argentina: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Basanta, Biglia, Mascherano, Lavezzi (Palacio 71), Messi, Di Maria (Perez 33), Higuain.
Subs: Orion, Campagnaro, Gago, Maxi Rodriguez, Augusto Fernandez, Federico Fernandez, Alvarez, Aguero, Andujar.

Goal: Higuain 8.

Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen, Fellaini, Witsel, Mirallas (Mertens 59), De Bruyne, Hazard (Chadli 75), Origi (Lukaku 59).
Subs: Mignolet, Vermaelen, Defour, Lombaerts, Dembele, Januzaj, Ciman, Bossut.

Booked: Hazard.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli (Italy)