World Cup 2014 final - Germany vs Argentina: Five reasons Argentina reached the World Cup final

Argentina arrive via luck, nous and timely heroes

Argentina are into the World Cup final against Germany. We take a look at the key moments on their way to the Maracana.

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1. Last-minute miss

The last-minute miss in extra-time by Switzerland substitute Blerim Dzemaili in the second round match in São Paulo. With his team trailing 1-0, the Swiss defender’s header canoned off the post and he then sent the rebound wide when faced with an empty net.  The match would almost certainly have gone to penalties if he had scored and then who know what would have happened.

Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili heads against the Argentina post in the last few seconds of their match Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili heads against the Argentina post in the last few seconds of their match  

2. Messi’s magic

Lionel Messi’s last-minute, 25-yard goal against Iran which earned his team a 1-0 win . Argentina were close to being held to an embarrassing draw in Belo Horizonte, with Iran outplaying them for large parts of the match and missing two glorious chances to win when Messi conjured up a piece of timely magic. Argentina’s victory secured their qualification from the group stages.

A view of Messi's goal against Iran A view of Messi's goal against Iran  

3. Sabella’s tactics

Manager Alex Sabella’s decision to make two key changes for the quarter-final match against Belgium, dropping centre-half Frederico Fernandez for Martin Dimechellis, and midfielder Fernando Gago for Lucas Biglio. The changes added extra strength and balance to the team, making them even harder to beat.

 

4. Romero comes good

Sergio Romero’s penalty saves from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder secured Argentina’s place in the World Cup final. The much-derided goalkeeper had, previously been described as the team’s weak link. His first save in particular gave Argentina a huge psyhological advantage in the shoot-out.

Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty  

5. Cool venues

The World Cup draw has been kind to Argentina, ensuring they played no matches in the hot and humid cities of northern Brazil. All their games have taken place in the more temperate cities in the middle or south, which are relatively closer to their country, ensuring Argentinians have attended in large numbers.

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