Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Javier Mascherano reveals he 'tore his anus' in heroic match-saving tackle on Arjen Robben

The midfielder was outstanding in the World Cup semi-final

Javier Mascherano has spoken of the pain he had to endure to help Argentina reach the World Cup final, revealing that he "tore his anus" while making the heroic match-saving tackle on Arjen Robben in the final minute of the semi-final victory over the Netherlands.

Describing the perfectly-timed tackle on the flying Dutchman, Mascherano said: "I thought I had slipped, I thought I wouldn’t make it, but I tore my anus on that move, the pain...it was terrible.

"I threw myself into it. I could have been sent off. It could have been a penalty but anyone could have done that, I had the luck to get there."

Argentina then went on to win the semi-final in Sao Paulo on penalties after the game ended 0-0 after extra-time.

Mascherano had earlier shaken off a nasty head injury to continue the game, and says that the all the pain was worth it, as playing in a World Cup final will be the pinnacle of his career.

"I cried at the end because I have spent a lot of time waiting for this moment," the 30-year-old said.

Video: Argentina seal place in World Cup Final


"This is my third World Cup and maybe my last one.

"It's a delight to be in the final, a delight that lifts your soul.

"It's something you can't explain, it's something I never imagined would happen.

"And I know the people at home will be happy because two generations could not see Argentina in the final of a World Cup, they can see us there now so we are happy for that."