Argentina stick to the plan,breaks Holland hearts on penalty shootout

Holland manager Louis van Gaal revealed two players had refused to take the first penalty after their shootout defeat by Argentina on Wednesday.

The Dutch couldn’t repeat their quarter-final shoot out heroics against Costa Rica as Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar missed Holland’s first kick and Wesley Sneijder also failed to score.

Argentina scored all four penalties to secure a place in the World Cup final against Germany in the Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

Afterwards, Van Gaal – who takes over at Manchester United next week – appeared to suggest that two players refused to take kicks but wouldn’t elaborate.

He said: ‘You need to score the first one and I asked two players to take the first ball before ending up with Vlaar.

‘I thought he was the best player on the pitch so should have a lot of confidence. It just goes to show it’s not easy scoring in a penalty shoot-out.

It’s a very humiliating question to be asked who the players were.’

A tight game ended scoreless after 120 minutes but Argentina went through after scoring with four consecutive spot-kicks.

Van Gaal wasn’t able to send specialist goalkeeper Tim Krul on in goal for the penalties as he did last week as he had already used three substitutes. To add to his pain, Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero once played for him at AZ Alkmaar.

‘We didn’t lose against them, but the penalties are down to luck,’ he added.

‘I taught Romero how to stop penalties, so that hurts.’

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero scored one of Argentina’s penalties after returning from injury as a substitute. He is now expected to start on Sunday.

Coach Alejandro Sabella must now prepare for Germany and said: ‘Germany are always a very difficult hurdle to overcome.

‘It’ll be difficult playing them, and it’s an additional hurdle that they’ve had the extra day and, indeed, could rein themselves in for the second half against Brazil.’


Holland, meanwhile, will face Brazil in a third-placed play-off game on Saturday, Van Gaal’s last game before being unveiled at United next week.

‘I think this match should never be played,’ said Van Gaal.

‘I’ve been saying that for 10 years.

‘If you lose twice in a row and you look back on a tournament where you’ve played so marvellously but you leave as a loser after losing the last two matches.

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