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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup Player of the Day: Romero the hero

World Cup Player of the Day: Romero the hero

July 10, 2014 09:01 IST

World Cup Player of the Day: Romero the hero

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Argentina's Sergio Romero launched himself left and right to save two penalties in a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands on Wednesday that sealed the South Americans' first World Cup final appearance in 24 years.

PHOTOS: Romero's heroics guide Argentina into World Cup final

After the teams battled to a 0-0 draw in the first ever goalless semi-final, Romero plunged low to his left to save the first kick from Dutch defender Ron Vlaar, then flew high to his right to palm away Wesley Sneijder's effort.

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Image: Sergio Romero of Argentina celebrates defeating the Netherlands in a shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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Goalkeeping hero Romero, who clutched the ball tight as he spoke to reporters after the game, put his saves down to a lot of self-belief and a little luck.

"...I'm really happy with everything," he said in a televised interview. "(Penalties) are a question of luck, that's the reality ... I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well."

Twice champions Argentina now travel to Rio de Janeiro for Sunday's final against old rivals Germany, who thrashed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the other semi-final in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday.

While Romero basked in the limelight, Cillessen's head hung low as he was consoled by his team mates.

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Image: Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero celebrates after saving a penalty kick
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters

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World Cup Player of the Day: Romero the hero

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Romero told his compatriots to ‘enjoy the moment’ after saving two penalties in the semi-final shootout win over the Netherlands on Wednesday to send his country into their first World Cup final since 1990.

"Enjoy the moment, we will enjoy it and tomorrow we will start working for the final," he said in a televised interview.

"I feel immense happiness, I'm really happy with everything. (Penalties) are a question of luck, that is the reality. I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well.

"Hope has been intact since day one," he added.

Romero, who was voted man of the match for his shootout heroics, had warm words for both coaches.

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Image: Sergio Romero of Argentina saves the penalty kick of Ron Vlaar of the Netherlands
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal was the keeper's boss at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, where he went in 2007, and Van Gaal joked after the match that he had taught Romero how to save penalties.

"I went to the dressing room to thank him (Van Gaal)," Romero told reporters.

"He is someone who helped me a lot when I arrived in Holland, in a completely different country, with different customs, where they spoke a completely different language.

"At the beginning I didn't speak a word, and he spoke Spanish and he helped me a lot. So just as I am grateful to (Argentina coach) Alejandro (Sabella), I am also grateful to Van Gaal for everything he did for me."


Image: Lionel Messi and goalkeeper Sergio Romero of Argentina react after Messi's made penalty kick in a shootout
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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