Wednesday night’s game in Sao Paulo is destined to live long in the memory, as Paul Watson and John Foster report...
In a titanic struggle that ran the gamut of emotions from boredom to ennui, Argentina and the Netherlands scratched their names into the collective prefrontal cortex of the football watching world.
Fans at the Arena Corinthians were to witness a clash of styles for the ages, as the attritional Argentines faced a free-spoiling Dutch side intent on stamping their own mark on Lionel Messi’s spindly little legs.
Nothing could separate the sides over 120 minutes of what they apparently believed to be football, so the game was settled by testing a skill neither side had hitherto employed, namely shooting.
Dutch goalkeeper Tim Krul was unable to repeat his heroics, as he was far from the stadium intimidating random Costa Ricans in the belief that this might be decisive.
“I can tell my grandchildren that I was involved in this semi-final,” Javier Mascherano told FourFourTwo.
“And they’ll say I can’t believe you played in Brazil versus Germany. And I’ll say no, that was the other one. And they’ll say what other one? And they'll say Netherlands against Argentina in the semi-finals? And I'll say yes. And they'll say 'oh yeah, I saw the three-minute highlights on YouTube. It was funny when you got concussed'.”
Fans who were at the game said they couldn’t believe what they’d just witnessed.
“As soon as the final whistle went, we talked about it until nearly midnight,” one spectator said.
“Then we discussed Louis van Gaal's prospects at Manchester United next season, then the weather, then which the best season of Seinfeld was.
“Then we spent the next three hours quoting Seinfeld at one another and recalling our favourite episodes. Mine's the one where George pretends to be a marine biologist, though I'd forgotten all about the Chinese restaurant one, and that's another classic. Man, it was a great night.”
This weekend is a mouthwatering prospect for football fans, with FIFA awarding Germany the trophy and declaring a three-way third-place play-off.
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