Argentina heads into Sunday’s World Cup final as the underdog following its 4-2 win on penalties against the Netherlands after 120 scoreless minutes. Man-of-the-Match Sergio Romero saved penalties by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder during the shootout to send Argentina through. “Penalties are a question of luck,” Romero said after the game. “I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well.”
Midfield general Javier Mascherano, who produced a game-saving challenge on Arjen Robben in stoppage time, remarked that Argentina deserved to be in the final. “If anything, this group deserved this,” the Barcelona defender told AS. “We played a brilliant game, we had no fear of anything and we know on Sunday it will be the game of our lives.”
According to UK bookmaker Ladbrokes, Germany is the 8-11 favorite to lift the World Cup after easing to a 7-1 win against tournament host Brazil, while Argentina is 11-10 to win it all. Germany will make a record eighth appearance in the World Cup final, having won three, while Argentina is making its fourth appearance, having won two. Germany beat Argentina in the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups. They also met in the 1990 World Cup final, which West Germany won 1-0. Four years earlier, Diego Maradona famously led the Albiceleste to World Cup glory, defeating the Germans 3-2 in the final in Mexico City.
“We have a day’s less rest than Germany but we’ll face that game with honesty and humility,” Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said after the semifinal win. “Germany has shown great physical power and mental strength.”