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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

July 11, 2014 10:36 IST

World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Argentina reached their first World Cup final in 24 years on Wednesday, beating the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties after the first scoreless semi in the tournament's history, with old foes Germany awaiting them in Sunday's showpiece.

World Cup: Take a look at Germany's journey to the final

The match will be a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, the first of which was won by Argentina before the then West Germany gained revenge four years later.

Take a look at Argentina's journey to the World Cup final in Brazil.

Complete coverage of the football World Cup

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Image: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates with teammates after defeating the Netherlands
Photographs: Clive Rose/Getty Images

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Lionel Messi scored a trademark individual goal as Argentina began their World Cup campaign with a narrow 2-1 victory over Bosnia-Hercegovina at Rio de Janeiro's renovated Maracana stadium.

The Barcelona superstar created the third-minute own goal by Sead Kolasinac which put Argentina ahead, but it took a mid-match tactical shift for him to really start influencing proceedings.

In the 65th minute he scored a goal befitting of the iconic 78,800-seater stadium, collecting the ball deep and exchanging passes with Gonzalo Higuain before darting past a pair of defenders and slamming home via the base of the left-hand post.

It was only the second World Cup goal of the 26-year-old's career and substitute Vedad Ibisevic's late reply for Bosnia meant that it proved decisive.

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Image: Lionel Messi scores Argentina's second goal past Asmir Begovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Photographs: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Lionel Messi's magical left-foot produced another inspirational goal as Argentina managed 1-0 win over gritty Iran in a Group F game of the World Cup in Belo Horizonte.

With some of the most dogged defending that has been witnessed in this edition, Iranians nearly pulled off a memorable draw before the Argentine skipper produced a precision left-footer that curled past goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi, who had been brilliant under the bar.

With six points from two games, Argentina are well on course for a berth in the Round of 16 although their dependance on Messi and failure of the other forwards is becoming increasingly evident.

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Image: Andranik Teymourian of Iran (left) challenges Lionel Messi
Photographs: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Lionel Messi played a starring role as Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 in Porto Alegre to end as Group F winners, with wins in all three of their matches. 

Despite the result, both the teams qualified to the round of 16 from the group, Nigeria benefiting from the fact that Bosnia thumped Iran in the evening's other game in Salvador.

The Argentine captain struck twice to take his tally to four goals in three matches. Considering he had scored just one in his first eight, it is safe to say that Messi has come a long way.

Porto Alegre is just 631 km off the Argentina border. So it was no surprise that albieceleste supporters packed the stands at the Estadio Beira-Rio. And it was not long before the celebrations began.

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Image: Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's second goal and his second of the game with Ezequiel Lavezzi (left) and Angel di Maria (right)
Photographs: Ian Walton/Getty Images

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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A lot was expected from Lionel Messi, but it was Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria who scored in the 118th minute to give Argentina a 1-0 win over Switzerland in extra-time and a spot in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Despite camping out in the Swiss half for long periods of the second half Argentina could not make the breakthrough as the 90 minutes of play ended scoreless.

Argentina looked the stronger side in extra-time as Swiss legs began to tire and, just when it looked like Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson would call for the penalty shoot-out, Di Maria curled the ball past Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio, off a pass from Messi, to seal the late triumph.

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Image: Angel di Maria of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's goal in extra-time
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Striker Gonzalo Higuain scored when it mattered as his opportunistic strike helped Argentina beat Belgium 1-0 to enter the World Cup semi-final after 24 long years ending their 'quarter-final jinx' that affected them during the last two editions.

 The last time when the 'Albicelestes' reached semi-final was 'Italia 90' where the Diego Maradona-led team lost the final 0-1 to West Germany.

In recent editions, Argentina have lost twice in the quarter-finals in 2006 and 2010 to Germany. This will be skipper Lionel Messi's first World Cup semi-final having had to bite the dust in the last two editions.

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Image: Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain runs past Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne (7) and Vincent Kompany to celebrate after scoring a goal
Photographs: Damir Sagolj/Reuters

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World Cup: Take a look at Argentina's journey to the final

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Goalkeeper Sergio Romero pulled off two stunning saves as Argentina edged out the Netherlands 4-2 in the penalty shootout in a grinding semi-final match to set up a World Cup summit clash against Germany in Sao Paulo.

The second semi-final between the two heavyweight teams ended scoreless in the regulation 90 minutes and 30 minutes of extra time and its result had to be decided via penalty shootout.

Captain Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez scored for Argentina while only Arjen Robben and Dirk Kuyt could found the target for the Netherlands.


Image: Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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