Argentina beat Dutch in shootout to set up Germany final

admin   •   July 10, 2014   •   2155

Argentina’s national soccer players celebrate after their teammate Maxi Rodriguez scored the decisive goal during a penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands at their 2014 World Cup semi-finals at the Corinthians arena in Sao Paulo July 9, 2014.
REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

(Reuters) – Argentina reached their first World Cup final in 24 years on Wednesday, beating the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties after the first scoreless semi in the tournament’s history, with old foes Germany awaiting them in Sunday’s showpiece.

The match will be a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, the first of which was won by Argentina before the then West Germany gained revenge four years later.

Argentina’s win compounded the misery for hosts Brazil who were humiliated 7-1 by Germany on Tuesday before seeing their worst fears realized when their South American neighbors booked their place at the Maracana on Sunday.

Midfielder Maxi Rodriguez scored the decisive penalty for Argentina after their goalkeeper Sergio Romero had saved spot kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, triggering wild celebrations among Lionel Messi’s triumphant team.

“I’m proud to be a part of this group,” Messi said in a statement posted on his social media pages.

“They are all phenomenons, what a match they played.

“What madness. We are in the final. Let’s enyoy it, it is just a little step more.”

Brazil may have won the World Cup more than any other country, but the one they wanted most of all will now be played between two of their greatest rivals.

For Brazilians, it is unpalatable prospect for the mourning samba nation but for soccer fans, it is a dream showdown between a German team that has wowed everyone at the tournament and Messi, the four-time World Player of the year who has won every honor except the World Cup.

Wednesday’s second semi-final in Sao Paulo could not have been more different than Tuesday’s goalfest in Belo Horizonte but the sheer tension of the occasion had fans on the edge of their seats.

“I’m very happy because we reached the final and now we will see what we can do,” said Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella. “We will give everything as usual, with humility, work and 100 percent effort.”

Neither Argentina or the Netherlands created many chances in a dour game that was dominated by defense but ultimately came down to a battle of nerves when they finished deadlocked at 0-0 after extra time.

For players and fans, the tension was almost unbearable and it was the Dutch, who have played in three World Cup finals, including the last one in Johannesburg four years ago, but never won one, who fluffed their lines in the shootout.

It was also a second semi-final defeat on penalties for the Netherlands who suffered the same fate against Brazil in 1998.

“I didn’t have the feeling in the second half that we would lose,” said Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal.

“And when it comes to penalties you know it’s a lottery. The boys did fantastically (well). Nobody had expected this.”

The Dutch will play Brazil in the third-place playoff in Brasilia on Saturday as the recriminations into the host nation’s limp exit gather pace.

ETERNAL SHAME

Brazilian media savaged the team’s performance with newspapers describing the Germany defeat as an “historic disgrace”, “national humiliation”, “eternal shame” and a “fiasco”.

A lot of the blame was directed at Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, whose future is now the source of wide speculation with Tite, Muricy Ramalho and Vanderlei Luxemburgo looming as his possible successor.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff took to social media to express her disappointment to a country reeling from the loss after spending more than $11 billion on hosting the tournament.

“I’m immensely sorry for all of us, our fans and players,” she tweeted. “But let’s not let ourselves give up. Brazil, get up, dust yourself off and bounce back.”

Riot police, who had been deployed at fan sites around the country to handle any violent outbreaks, had a quiet night with most fans too traumatized by the manner of defeat to revolt.

An Argentine journalist was killed in Sao Paulo early on Wednesday morning when his taxi was hit by a stolen car fleeing police. He was the second Argentine reporter to die in a car wreck while covering the World Cup.

The mood in Germany could not have been more different with more than 32 million people watching their country’s victory on television, a record rating which accounted for an audience market share of almost 88 percent.

Hundreds of thousands of Germans watched the match from the avenue leading to the Brandenburg Gate and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to attend the final.

Off the field, FIFA suspended the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) because of government interference.

A regional court in Nigeria last week ordered the sacking of the existing NFF executive after the team’s performance at the World Cup, where they were eliminated by France in the second round.

The court appointed a new administrator to run the game in the populous west African nation but FIFA warned Nigeria they would be banned from competing internationally unless the old leadership was restored to power.

“The suspension will be lifted once the court actions have been withdrawn and the properly elected NFF Executive Committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their affairs,” FIFA said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond and Nigel Hunt)

British TV presenter Flack died by hanging — inquest hears

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Caroline Flack

British television presenter Caroline Flack was found hanged in her London flat on Saturday (February 15) and paramedics were unable to revive her, an inquest into her death heard.

The suicide of the 40-year-old former presenter of the hugely popular “Love Island” dating show has reignited a debate in Britain about the conduct of the tabloid press and social media trolls.

Coroner’s Officer Sandra Polson told the court that police had been flagged down on the street by an unidentified person who had led them to a residential address. There, a woman was found lying on her back.

An ambulance arrived and paramedics attempted CPR but were unable to revive her. She was pronounced dead at 1436 GMT on Saturday.

An autopsy determined that the cause of death was suspension by ligature. The coroner adjourned the rest of the inquest until Aug. 5. (Reuters)

(Production: Marissa Davison)

Global warming causing ‘irreversible’ mass melting in Antarctica says scientist

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Global warming was leading to an “irreversible” mass melting of the Antarctic ice and purging carbon from the atmosphere was the only solution to slow the process, an Australian climate scientist told Reuters on Wednesday (February 19).

Recent human activity has intensified global warming, which could result in a mass melting of Antarctica, said Zoe Thomas, a research fellow at the University of New South Wales who was part of an international team of scientists that recently published a paper on Antarctic ice melting.

The study showed the world could lose most of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which rests on the seabed and is fringed by floating ice, in a warmer world.

“What we’re seeing with the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is that this starting of the melt, once we reach a certain threshold, will continue despite our efforts to stop it,” she told Reuters.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica of 18.3 degrees Celsius (64.94 degrees Fahrenheit) was taken at a research base there on Feb. 6. If hotter temperatures were to sustain they could cause an extreme global sea level rise.

“This will gradually displace people as it goes,” Thomas said. “We know this is already happening in small island communities and this will just continue to happen gradually as more and more houses are being inundated at high tide, then at normal tide and then even at low tide.”

Thomas said that the only thing that would slow down the ice melting was if economies across the world began de-carbonising themselves.

Many advanced economies have pledged to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 though Australia is largely seen as dragging its feet on the issue despite recently suffering one of its worst bushfire seasons ever. (Reuters)

(Production: Cordelia Hsu)

Libya talks suspended after rebels attack Tripoli port

UNTV News   •   February 19, 2020

Libya’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday (February 18) suspended talks hosted by the United Nations to halt warfare over the capital after eastern forces shelled Tripoli’s port, killing three people and almost hitting a highly explosive gas tanker.

Footage from Tripoli’s port showed black smoke rising near docked ships from the area believed to have been hit by shelling.

The U.N. has been hosting in Geneva ceasefire talks between officers from the Tripoli government and the eastern-based Libya National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Haftar.

The two factions have been trying to take the capital in a near year-long campaign, displacing at least 150,000 people.

The LNA on Tuesday shelled Tripoli port, saying first it had attacked a Turkish vessel bringing weapons but saying later it had hit an arms depot. Three civilians were killed and five wounded, the Tripoli forces said.

In response to the LNA attack, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord said in a statement it suspended its participation in ceasefire talks “until firm responses are taken against the attacker, and we will respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing.” (Reuters)

(Production: Ahmed Elumami, Seham Eloraby and Fintan McDonnell).

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