Netherlands lose to Argentina in penalties

oranje loss
Dutch players (L-R) Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Stefan de Vrij and Daley Blind console each other after the World Cup loss to Argentina (iadorethecraic/Twitter).

The Netherlands' World Cup championship dreams have been shelved for another four years after Argentina beat the Dutch squad in penalties. Argentina put four penalties past goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, while Argentine keeper Sergio Romero blocked two of the Netherlands four shots.

Oranje went first in the shootout, with defender Ron Vlaar kicking a ball towards his right, straight into Romero's torso. Striker Lionel Messi followed that up with an immediate goal for Argentina putting the Dutch on their heels straight away.

Arjen Robben equalized for Oranje, but Ezequiel Garay put Argentina back ahead. Wesley Sneijder then had a chance to bring Oranje level, but Romero predicted accurately, dove to his right and knocked Sneijder's shot wide.

Striker Sergio Agüero put Argentina up 3-1, with familiar Dutch midfielder Dirk Kuyt sending a low shot into the right corner to keep the Netherlands in the match.

However, it was late substitution Maxi Rodríguez who put the ball over the line off Cillessen's hands and into the top of the net, sealing Argentina's place in the World Cup final against Germany.

Throughout regulation and extra time, the Netherlands held possession of the ball for 54 percent of the time, despite having offensive chances that were few and far between. Argentina had eight total shots, five on goal, while Oranje had five shots with three on target. Both teams had four corners and were flagged offsides four times.

The Netherlands will play Brazil in the third-place match on Saturday at 10 p.m. The World Cup final is on Sunday at 9 p.m.

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