Costa Rica
Match 25
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Match 24
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LIVE 51'
Match 26
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12:00 PM UTC Jun 23, 2018
Match 29
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South Korea
6:00 PM UTC Jun 23, 2018
Match 28
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3:00 PM UTC Jun 23, 2018
Match 27
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Match 24
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 By PA Sport

Romero out to match Argentina heroes

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero says the squad are summoning inspiration from their heroes of the past as they prepare for their country's most important match in a generation.

Romero, the Monaco man who was the star in the penalty shootout victory against Netherlands in Wednesday's World Cup semifinal, insists the team is determined to join those who made history by winning the tournament in 1978 and 1986.

It is 24 years since Argentina last made the final, where they were beaten 1-0 by West Germany in a tense affair.

For Romero, however, the chance to join the icons of the Diego Maradona-inspired team of 1986, or those who triumphed on home soil eight years before, is what is driving him and his teammates on.

"The most important thing is that our team and our country provide the best image in the eyes of the world, that the world will speak well of Argentina," Romero told Argentine newspaper Clarin.

"We will remember what the champions of 1978 and 1986 achieved but we will also try to achieve glory by the fight and heart of this team.

"Maybe for many people it is not the dream final, because they wanted us to play Brazil, but it will be a fantastic game.

"They will be very tough opponents, they scored seven goals in the semifinal and they did not have to go to extra time so they have been able to save some energy for the final.''

Romero saved two penalties, from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, to see Argentina through against Netherlands after the match ended 0-0 after extra time.

The goalkeeper said minds have now been refocused after clips emerged from the dressing room following the match of the squad singing their fans' anthem "Brasil decime que se siente" -- "Brazil tell me how it feels" -- to the tune of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising."

"The boys enjoyed it, everyone was shouting and singing in the dressing room, but from the next morning we set our minds on what was coming and how hard it will be to face Germany,'' he said.

Germany have eliminated Argentina in the last two World Cups, winning a semifinal in 2006 on penalties and trouncing the South Americans 4-0 in 2010.

Maxi Rodriguez is the only survivor from the 2006 team and he revealed he is desperate to avenge those defeats.

Rodriguez, one of only two outfield players in the Argentina squad to play his club football in the country's domestic league, said: "You bet. Since they knocked us out on the last two occasions, I can't deny that I'm out for payback.

"The first time was more painful because it was on penalties. In South Africa it was different, because we hardly got into the game.

"But now it's a final, the most important match we're going to play. Of course I want revenge.''

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella's biggest dilemma is over whether to pick Angel Di Maria, who is struggling with a torn thigh muscle.

Di Maria has been undergoing stem cell injections to try to speed his recovery, and his father was quoted by Clarin as saying the Real Madrid winger is desperate to play even if he has not completely recovered.

Miguel Di Maria said: "He has been making short sprints, doing everything ... and he's confident he will make it. I also think he will play in the final, even if it is just for a few minutes.''


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