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World Cup 2014: Argentina's road to the final

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Last Updated: July 13, 2014, 09:21 IST

World Cup 2014: Argentina's road to the final

Argentina came into the 2014 World Cup as one of the favourites, but they haven't been as impressive as they are known to be despite having made it to the final.

Argentina came into the 2014 World Cup as one of the favourites and started their campaign on a winning note, but they haven't been as impressive as they are known to be despite having made it to the summit clash.

Argentina's perfect progression to the World Cup knockout stage has remained heavily reliant on their superstar Lionel Messi. And now the magician has his chance to emulate countryman and football great Diego Maradona by leading his nation to World Cup glory when they face Germany on Monday in the final.

Argentina have previously met the Germans in two World Cup semi-finals - winning it in 1986 and ending up as the losers in 1990 to the then West Germany.

Here is a look at their road to the final:

GROUP STAGE

Argentina 2-1 Bosnia-Herzegovina

Messi scored a stunning second-half goal to enable Argentina to a 2-1 victory over World Cup debutants Bosnia at the Maracana stadium in their opening match.

Messi lifted Argentina in the 65th minute, moving in from the right and striking a low left-footed shot off the inside of the post behind Bosnian keeper Asmir Begovic.
It was just the second World Cup goal for Messi, adding to the first he scored eight years ago in Germany.

Argentina 1-0 Iran

Messi stoppage-time strike earned Argentina a crucial 1-0 victory over Iran, which secured their passage to the pre-quarters.

Iran had defended solidly throughout the game and also took the match to Argentina in the second half, creating several chances to win the Group F match and cause a tournament sensation. But they were punished for those missed chances when Messi picked up the ball about 20 yards out and curled a shot into the left-hand corner.

Argentina 3-2 Nigeria

Argentina beat Nigeria 3-2 in their last group match, with Messi and Nigerian Ahmed Musa scoring two goals each before Marcos Rojo kneed in the winner for the South Americans. Argentina topped Group F while Nigeria also advanced despite the loss, becoming the first African team in the Round of 16 in Brazil.

ROUND OF 16

Argentina 1-0 Switzerland

Angel Di Maria 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. With a penalty shootout looming, Messi made a surging run towards the Swiss area and laid the ball off to Di Maria on the right, and the winger sent a left-foot shot past the diving Swiss goalkeeper, Diego Benaglio.

QUARTER-FINAL

Argentina 1-0 Belgium

Argentina reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 24 years after a hard fought 1-0 win over Belgium at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia.

Gonzalo Higuain scored his first goal in this year's tournament with a brilliant first-time volley in the eighth minute and that turned out to be the difference between the two teams. Argentina, who had last qualified for the World Cup semis in 1990 where they lost to Germany in the final, became the second South American to reach the last four after the hosts Brazil.

SEMI-FINAL

Argentina 4-2 Netherlands

The South American giants set up a World Cup final clash against Germany after overcoming the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout after both the teams failed to score at the end of regular and extra time at the Arena Corinthians.

For the first time in 26 years, a World Cup semi-final went into penalties after no breakthrough could be found. Argentine goalkeeper Romero emerged the hero for his country saving two out of four spot kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder.

Messi, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Aguero and Maxi Rodriguez all scored their penalties to take Argentina into the final against the Germans, leaving the Dutch and the Brazilians to contest for the third place.
first published:July 13, 2014, 09:21 IST
last updated:July 13, 2014, 09:21 IST