SAO PAULO: Sergio Romero paid tribute to Louis Van Gaal after saving the penalties which took Argentina, and not his mentor’s Holland, into the World Cup Final writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Romero made agile, decisive stops from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder as Argentina won the shootout 4-2 after a goalless draw in extra time.
He was voted official man of the match and said: “I went to the Dutch dressing room because Louis Van Gaal is someone who helped me a lot when I arrived in Holland which is a country with different custom and a different language and, at the beginning, I didn’t understand a word.
“But Van Gaal could talk to me in Spanish. He is a person who teaches his players how to grow, to pay more attention to everything.
“From the very first day he said to me that a goalkeeper is one more player, he is one of the 11 players in a team. I was only 20 when I arrived there and I will be forever grateful to Van Gaal for helping me find my feet.”
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella said that Romero kept “a huge folder regarding all the teams and all their players who shoot penalties, how many they score and where they shoot them.”
Sabella said that, in reaching the Final, his players had “crossed a Rubicon, it’s a line of no return.”
He praised them for their physical commitment, saying: “It was exhausting for the players but we never gave up on the possibilities of winning. I think we had more chances than them. Now we have a Final to play with one day less and having played extra time but we’ll do everything possible to try to make it.”