After Tuesday's football insanity, Wednesday's semifinal between Netherlands and Argentina saved all of its drama until the last possible moment: penalties. Lionel Messi and Argentina beat Arjen Robben and the Dutch 0-0 (4-2) to advance to Sunday's World Cup final.
Here is a snack-sized portion of reaction from the match:
Pre-match: The anticipation
Despite another set of teams, many couldn't stop making comparison's to Germany's 7-1 victory against host Brazil in the tournament's other semifinal:
My prediction for the Argentina-Netherlands game: somehow, Germany wins. #WorldCup- God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 9, 2014
Sao Paulo. First WC game I've been to without significant chunk of yellow shirts. Unsurprisingly.- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) July 9, 2014
First half: The disappointment
As play wore on in the first half, the Twitterverse grew more and more impatience with Netherlands and Argentina:
NO ONE HAS SCORED YET? WHAT IS THIS? #ARGvsNED- HuffPost Sports (@HuffPostSports) July 9, 2014
The first big play of the match was Messi's free-kick opportunity in the 14th minute:
SEND ON TIM KRUL!!!- Church of Soccer (@churchofsoccer) July 9, 2014
Javier Mascherano knocked heads with Georginio Wijnaldum on a header play during the 27th minute. While there was no confirmation on whether or not Mascherano had a significant injury, the incident again sparked the heated debate over concussions and FIFA regulations:
Oh. My. God. Javier Mascherano is back on the pitch after going Bambi-legs following a clash of heads. Yikes.- Kurtis Larson (@KurtLarSUN) July 9, 2014
Honest to God soccer: when a guy clearly has a head injury could we maybe take five seconds to look him over first?!?!?!- Andrew Das (@AndrewDasNYT) July 9, 2014
Nothing to see here. Concussions only happen in sports with helmets. Everyone knows that...- Rick Maese (@RickMaese) July 9, 2014
He's fine! Everybody's fine! It's not like someone was biting out there! No worries!- Brian Phillips (@runofplay) July 9, 2014
I fear for Mascherano right now. He has no clue what he is doing and because FIFA has no backbone to stand up and legislate it's trouble.- Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) July 9, 2014
The posts were getting restless:
Why hasn't anybody scored yet? At this point yesterday, Germany were up 5-0. #NEDvsARG- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 9, 2014
I miss goals.- Dale Johnson (@dalejohnsonESPN) July 9, 2014
This is roughly equivalent to a 0-0 game in the NBA.- Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) July 9, 2014
Halftime: Pleas for goals
Translation in any language: nervous.
Así viven el partido los argentinos en el Fan Fest en Rio de Janeiro. pic.twitter.com/lNTwsrKPnu- Juan Pasten (@juanpasten2010) July 9, 2014
More halftime reaction:
Ashamed to say I liked it better with all the goals- Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) July 9, 2014
Second semi tight tactical tense and so far tedious. Keepers almost unemployed. One goal changes everything as someone once said.- Ian Darke (@IanDarke) July 9, 2014
I think Van Gaal should bring on Robben and Van Persie for second half. Oh, wait....- Simon Kuper (@KuperSimon) July 9, 2014
Not overly entertaining... but there's a WC final at stake. Can't really blame ARG + HOL for tactical, safety-first display.- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) July 9, 2014
Fewest touches in the ARG-NED first half: Arjen Robben 6, Robin van Persie 11, Sergio Romero 13.- Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) July 9, 2014
Small request: Can we just get a sniff of that BRAvGER game of yesterday in this 2nd half pls.- Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) July 9, 2014
Greetings people. Well that was a snoozer. Hoping for something better in the 2nd. #NEDvsARG- Alexi Lalas (@AlexiLalas) July 9, 2014
Second half: 'Goals? Pleeeeeease?!'
Tim Krul better start warming up. This already feels like it will be decided by PK's #WorldCup2014- David Amber (@DavidAmber) July 9, 2014
Wet Sabella is half the man Wet Herrera used to be- Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 9, 2014
Did someone say Herrera?!?!
OK, OK, we're sorry ... back to the match.
Outside of a Robin van Persie bicycle-kick attempt and a close call for Argentina after Gonzalo Higuaín called offside on La Albiceleste's best look of the day, most seemed resigned for extra time:
Van Gaal wondering if Tim Krul can play striker- Men in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) July 9, 2014
Weirdly, both teams look almost angry that this game is so terrible. Be the change, guys!- James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) July 9, 2014
Please Aguero, provide the spark this game desperately needs. NED 82' in and no shots on goal. #NEDvsARG- Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) July 9, 2014
I've never seen so much standing on the ball in a WC match. The two Semi Final matches couldn't be more opposite. #NEDvARG- Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) July 9, 2014
Extra time: Countdown to Krul?
Free soccer! No, seriously, whoever captured it before this match, please release it from your dungeon.- Brian Phillips (@runofplay) July 9, 2014
Outside of many tweets (groans) over extra time, many wanted another Tim Krul outing, but Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal ended those hopes in the 96th minute when he used his third and last sub:
There goes all that Krul stuff...- Gabriele Marcotti (@Marcotti) July 9, 2014
Krul trick/nonsense wouldn't work on Argentina anyway, surely.- James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) July 9, 2014
And later, Argentina reached their limit, too:
Third sub. So, now #ARG can't bring on Krul either.- Adam Duerson (@adamduerson) July 9, 2014
Late in extra time, some called out Messi's performance, or lack thereof:
Argentina fans singing Messi's name, trying to get him going. He looks tired, has his head down. Needs to get going.- Ives Galarcep (@SoccerByIves) July 9, 2014
Messi not on form tonight might have read my tweet at half time about going to Arsenal- Lord Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) July 9, 2014
Of course, I'm not sure Messi has been in this game the last 20 minutes.- Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 9, 2014
Penalties: No Krul! Boo! Hiss!
From a world-class sprinter ...
To a ball ...
This is a high pressure situation. I'd be flat without pressure though so I thrive on it.- brazuca (@brazuca) July 9, 2014
Everyone was on the edge of their seats for the penalty shootout. But Argentina had their plan:
And how would that plan play out? Watch:
FT: Argentina wins on penalties 0-0 (4-2)
Argentina advances to its fifth World Cup final, first since 1990. #ARG- Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) July 9, 2014
For 2nd consecutive night, football, a game which has provided such joy to Brazilian nation, brings them only agony- roger bennett (@rogbennett) July 9, 2014
Things keep getting worse for Brazil. Argentina a win away from winning World Cup on Brazilian soil.- John Molinaro (@JohnMolinaro) July 9, 2014
We are a nation of 200 million Germans.- Fernando Duarte (@Fernando_Duarte) July 9, 2014
Messi in the Maracana. As if Brazil needed more salt in that wound. OUCH.- Julie Foudy (@JulieFoudy) July 9, 2014
My Argentine friend is weeping. I'm choking up watching him. It is something to see, how much these games mean.- Chris Jones (@MySecondEmpire) July 9, 2014
Think Louis might have out thought himself with that one!- Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 9, 2014
"Messi vs. the machine."- James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) July 9, 2014
The world is mine... pic.twitter.com/J7XlK78mOp- Jeremy Schaap (@JeremySchaap) July 9, 2014
Ahora si se puede festejar.lo que pase el domingo es otra historia.felicitaciones a todos aquellos que lo hicieron posible.vamos argentina- Mario Kempes (@ESPNMarioKempes) July 9, 2014
Congratulations Argentina for today's big victory!- Pelé (@Pele) July 9, 2014
I am looking forward to being at Maracanã on Sunday to watch the final between two great nations of football !- Pelé (@Pele) July 9, 2014