Argentina and the Netherlands could not decide the victor in 90 minutes or 120 minutes. Two big saves by Sergio Romero of Argentina led the way as Argentina went 4-4 on penalty kicks to emerge victorious. The Dutch only converted two penalty kicks as they lost 4-2 on penalties.
Both teams took a cautious approach to the game after Tuesday's wide open affair in which Germany destroyed Brazil by a score of 7-1. Robin van Persie was declared fit enough to start after batting a stomach bug in training on Tuesday.
The highlight of the first half came from Lionel Messi and a costless kick in the 15th minute. Messi stood over the ball about 25 yards out and let his shot go. However, the placement made it an easy save for Jasper Cillessen. Cillissen made a diving catch to his right.
Argentina had another chance in the 24th minute from a corner kick. Ezequiel Lavezzi delivered the corner to a diving Marcos Rojo. Rojo's diving header attempt was well over the bar and did not challenge the keeper at all.
A scary moment occurred in the 26th minute when Javier Mascherano of Argentina and Georginio Wijnaldum clashed heads. Mascherano got up after the clash, but was still woozy from the collision and collapsed to the ground. He remained there for approximately three minutes before heading to the sidelines. He remained in the game after the clash of heads. For American football fans, these type of collision stoke fears of concussions and highlight a growing concern of player safety.
Louis van Gaal made one change at halftime. He took off Bruno Martins Indi and replaced him with Daryl Janmaat.
The second half started in the same cautious nature as the first half. There were few chances for both teams and even fewer threats to the goalkeepers. Marcos Rojo took a shot from about 35 yards out, but it went directly to Cillessen.
In the waning minutes of the second half, Arjen Robben had a chance to put the Dutch in the World Cup Final. He got a beautiful touch pass from Wesley Sneijder into the penalty box. Robben took a touch and looked to beat Sergio Romero at the far post, but Javier Mascherano made a perfectly timed tackle to block the shot. The second half would end scoreless between Argentina and the Netherlands.
Both teams were attack minded in extra time though there was few shots on target to show for it. Robin van Persie was removed from the game in the 96th minute in favor of Klaas Jan Huntelaar. Robben had a long range effort in the 99th minute, but Sergio Romero had the short side covered.
Argentina had a two chances in the second extra time to win the game. Maxi Rodriguez lifted a ball over the Dutch defense to Rodrigo Palacio in the 115th minute. Palacio tried to head the ball over Cillessen, but there was not enough power and Cillessen made a comfortable two handed save.
Lionel Messi put a ball into the penalty box in the 117th minute that fell to a wide open Maxi Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit the ball against the ground and Cillessen made another comfortable save. The extra time ended scoreless as the teams would have to decide the victor on penalty kicks.
The first penalty was taken by the Dutch and Ron Vlaar. Sergio Romero guessed to his left and made a diving save. Lionel Messi was up first for Argentina and easily converted the kick to give Argentina the 1-0 lead after the first round of penalty kicks.
Arjen Robben came up for the Dutch and sent Romero the wrong way to even up the score at 1-1. Ezequiel Garay was up next for Argentina and he rocketed the ball into the roof of the net to restore Argentina's advantage at 2-1.
Wesley Sneijder was up third for the Dutch. He placed his shot to the goalie's right and Romero came up with his second huge save. Aguero came up and put the ball in the back of the net as Argentina took a 3-1 lead.
Down to their last chance, Dirk Kuyt kept the Dutch alive for the time being. Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez came up with a chance to send Argentina to the World Cup Final. Cillessen got his hands on the shot but the ball went up against the bottom of the bar and into the net. Argentina won 4-2 on penalties as the Dutch could not make back-to-back World Cup Finals.
Netherlands will play Brazil on Saturday in Brasilia to determine the third place winner.
Argentina will meet Germany on Sunday to determine the 2014 World Cup winner. The game will be played in Rio de Janeiro at the Maracana. The game on Sunday will the third time that Germany and Argentina meet in a World Cup final. Argentina was victorious in 1986 by a score of 3-2 while Germany returned the favor in 1990, 1-0.