The Netherlands reached the final of the World Cup four years ago, but this time they have been sent packing home before they could go that far.
Louis van Gaal’s side were always going to have it tough against Argentina in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, especially with star player Lionel Messi being on hot form.
The tie between the two footballing giants in Sao Paulo on Wednesday was always going to be a tightly-contested affair, and it proved to be so. Neither side could score in normal time; the extra-time period saw no goals either.
Both Argentina and the Netherlands had chances, but they negated each other and eventually the match was decided on penalties.
Once Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar failed to convert the opening penalty of the shootout, it was clear that Argentina were going to be the winners.
And it proved so, as the two-time world champions won the shootout and booked their place in the final against Germany, leading midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong, who was on the books of Arsenal until January 2014, to make following post on social networking site Twitter:
Bloody hell Unlucky holland well played Argentina good night— Emmanuel Y Frimpong. (@IAMFRIMPONG26) July 9, 2014
It is hard not to agree with 22-year-old Ghana international Frimpong, who is currently a free agent after being released by Barnsley at the end of last season. It is indeed cruel to get knocked out on penalties.
However, one might question why Vlaar took the first penalty for the Netherlands. The 29-year-old centre-back’s failure to convert it eventually proved to be crucial, as Barcelona forward Messi took the first for Argentina and scored with ease.
From then on, it was all Argentina.