The World Cup championship match is finally set, as Argentina eliminated the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties in Wednesday's semi-final. They will face Germany on Sunday, in what is effectively a rematch of the 1990 final.
The match itself was 120 minutes of grinding defensive soccer, a numbing stalemate in comparison to Tuesday's blitzkrieg. But there's nothing like a penalty shootout to inject some belated drama into the proceedings! Individual heroics were the key again, as Argentine goalkeeper Sergio Romero swatted away attempts from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. Argentina went perfect on four attempts from Messi, Garay, Agüero, and Rodriguez to send them to their first championship match in 24 years.
So bring on the strained narratives and strangely stereotypical analogies. It's La Albiceleste versus Die Mannschaft! It's the artistry of Argentina versus the ruthless efficiency of Germany! It's the magician Lionel Messi versus the sweeper keeper Manuel Neuer! It's Europe versus South America! And for the suffering Brazilians, it's the team that embarrassed the nation versus their historic arch-rivals.