UK & World News

  • 10 July 2014, 7:31

World Cup: Argentina To Face Germany In Final

Argentina will meet Germany in Sunday's World Cup final after a penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands.

The second semi-final was a tamer affair than Germany's 7-1 annihilation of hosts Brazil, with star players Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben failing to light up the game.

The match ended 0-0 and all the drama came in the shootout, when Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved two Dutch penalties before Maxi Rodriguez converted the winning kick.

Sunday's encounter at Brazil's iconicMaracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro will be a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 finals.

If Germany win they will be the first European side to triumph at a World Cup staged in the Americas.

Meanwhile, Brazil will face the Netherlands in Saturday's third-place play-off.

Away from the pitch, there had been fears of more protests over the cost of the competition following Brazil's humiliating exit on Tuesday.

Though the nation has not seen a repeat of the mass demonstrations and violent clashes that marred the build-up and start of the tournament, concerns remain.

Several buses were set on fire and looters ransacked an electronics store in Sao Paulo following Brazil's crushing defeat, although police did not confirm whether the trouble was linked to the match.

Many Brazilians are furious over the $11.3bn (8bn) spent on staging the World Cup when basic social services such as hospitals and schools are poorly financed.

In addition, a victory for arch-rival Argentina at the weekend will only rub salt in the wound of their own national side's worst World Cup defeat.

"If Argentina wins this cup here in Brazil, we might as well just close the coffin," said 32-year-old fan Silvio Martines.

"You can bury Brazil. It would be our last blow."

A police officer in charge of security said: "As of now, there has been no sign that any demonstration will take place after the last match. But the police are still on hand to ensure order around the stadium.

"The police are able to deploy if needed and some police from other places have been transferred here."

Some ire has been directed at President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking re-election in October and has dismissed complaints about the heavy spending.

Antonio Hipolito, who lives in Rio, said: "I hope this can make people wake up and start thinking with their heads and not their emotions and that people translate the anger they are feeling at the ballot boxes.

"Soccer is just an illusion and we need to wake up to reality."

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