Argentina Press hail Sergio Romero’s “Hands of God”

In the Netherlands Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf lamented the end of a dream

  Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero reacts after making his first penalty save. Photograph:   Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

Argentina’s goalkeeper Sergio Romero reacts after making his first penalty save. Photograph: Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

 

The Argentinian press hailed Sergio Romero’s “Hands of God” after the goalkeeper’s penalty shoot-out heroics earned victory over Holland in Wednesday night’s World Cup semi-final.

Romero saved from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, prompting Diario Hoy to play on Diego Maradona’s infamous handball goal against England at the 1986 tournament.

Under the headline “Los Manos de Dios”, the newspaper’s summary read: “After a goalless draw in 120 minutes, in which [Javier] Mascherano excelled, Chiquito Romero (a la Sergio Goycochea in 1990) emerged as the great figure to keep out the penalties of Vlaar and Sneijder.

“Thus, Alejandro Sabella’s team reached a fifth World Cup final and will go for glory against Germany on Sunday in the Maracana.”

Goycochea denied Roberto Donadoni and Aldo Serena in the Italia 90 semi-final against Italy, before Argentina lost in the final — against the same opposition, although then playing under the banner of West Germany.

Ole also hailed Romero as “the Goyco of the modern era” while English-language publication the Buenos Aires Herald said he had joined his predecessor in Argentinian folklore.

It wrote: “Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero wrote his name into the nation’s football history as he saved two penalties during a nail-biting penalty shoot-out, confirming Argentina’s place in the World Cup final after a 0-0 draw against the Netherlands in Sao Paulo.”

Diario Hoy also celebrated the ability of sport to provide an escape from everyday life, writing: “In a country full of anguish and conflicts, football can provide the great quota of happiness which is necessary.

“Argentina forgot yesterday the 2001 crisis, devaluation, political corruption and also the World Cup failures of ‘94, ‘98, 2002, 2006 and 2010.

“The people took to the streets to celebrate because after 24 years Messi, Sabella and Romero again put the team among the top two in the world.”

In Holland, De Telegraaf lamented the end of a dream. “Louis van Gaal’s Oranje ran up against an Argentine wall in the semi-finals of the World Cup,” wrote Twan Bovee.

“The unnerving ‘chess match’ lasted 120 minutes and was given a blood-curdling penalty shootout as the final piece.”

There were mixed feelings elsewhere, with Trouw decrying Sneijder as a mere “water-carrier” who failed to live up to his performances against Mexico and Costa Rica in the previous knock-out rounds.

But former Holland midfielder Wim van Hanegem, in his column in Algemeen Dagblad, felt the nation could be proud — in contrast to third-place play-off opponents Brazil, hammered 7-1 by Germany in their semi-final.

Van Hanegem wrote: “It was not always my style of football but to be attractive, you also need an opponent who will. Or who cannot, such as Brazil against Germany.”

The German media also weighed in, with Bild labelling yesterday’s match “terrible” compared to the whirlwind of the previous evening and claiming “It seemed as though neither country wanted to be in the final.”

Dutch coach Louis van Gaal was forced to use his third substitution in extra time, Klaas Jan Huntelaar replacing Robin van Persie, which meant he could not repeat his ploy of bringing on substitute goalkeeper Tim Krul for the shoot-out.

And Zeit mocked the Schalke frontman with the suggestion that: “Tim Krul could have contributed better than Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.”

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