Ron Vlaar penalty: Did the Dutchman actually come within inches of scoring?

Footage has emerged that suggests the Villa man nearly scored his spot kick in unusual fashion

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The Independent Online

Missing in a penalty shootout is always a cruel fate to befall any player, but when it happened to Ron Vlaar in Wednesday's semi-final it seemed particularly harsh given the fantastic performance the centre-back had put in.

However now footage has emerged that shows the Aston Villa man might have been closer to scoring his spot kick than first appeared.

For those that missed the thrilling denouement to the match between Argentina and the Netherlands, Vlaar was first up to take a penalty - reportedly chosen after two of his teammates refused to step up.

However despite his excellence in the preceeding 120 minutes of action, Vlaar ran in from five paces and promptly hit the ball softly to the right of Sergio Romero, the Argentine goalkeeper gratefully springing to his left and palming the ball away.

What happened next though was nearly the strangest moment of an already incident-filled World Cup. The ball looped up in the air and landed with backspin on it, rolling purposefully back towards the goalline.

It looked certain to cross it, but then stopped dead before going over fully, millimetres from being a goal.

See the footage below...


However... the story may not end there, because seen from another angle it appears Vlaar may have touched the ball after Romero, brushing it with his shoulder and sending it back towards the goal.

You can judge for yourself whether Vlaar touched it or not.


Netherlands face Brazil in the World Cup third place playoff this Saturday.