A cloudy day in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, where over 10 percent of the nation's population resides.
And they are still in mourning after Tuesday's semi-final whipping by Germany of Brazil. So the only meaning for Thursday's semi-final for Brazilians was for The Netherlands to beat Brazil's arch rival, Argentina. Arena de Sao Paulo was filled with fans of the men in Carolina Blue and White. Lionel Messi led his country's hopes while Robin Van Persie was the flag carrier for the men of Orange.
Both teams started this game playing it close to the vest. And can you blame them? A berth in the finals was at stake, and nobody wanted to be the one to make a mistake. It was not physical, it was tactical, like a chess match. Holland's game was to stop Messi. And to that end, Bruno Martins Indi was assigned to harass the Argentine superstar. He stayed glued to Messi like white on rice. Martins-Indi received a yellow card for clipping Messi a 2nd time in the 45th minute. At the half, no score. In the 27th minute, Javier Mascherano banged heads with The Netherlands Georginio Wijnaldum and he appeared to be concussed. He stumbled off the pitch, but 2 minutes later was back in the game. So much for concussion safety, FIFA. Martins-Indi was benched by Louis Van Gaal.
The 2nd half started much the same as the first. Both teams needed to play with a sense of urgency. It started raining hard in the 62nd minute, and play slowed down as well. The rest of the game was pedestrian, and it went to overtime. After 30 minutes, it was still scoreless. So it went to a penalty kick shootout. Argentina made 4, the Dutch just two, and Lionel Messi and his blue clad crew win a date with Germany in the finale this Sunday on ABC at 2pm.
It will be a great night in Brazil between these two great teams. My prediction rate for this tournament is now 41 & 21. Wish I laid a few quid in Vegas.
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Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim
Argentina advances to meet Germany in the Championship game