Argentina is going to play Germany Sunday in the World Cup final. La Albiceleste booked its place in the final by defeating The Netherlands in a penalty shootout following 120 minutes of tedious scoreless soccer. Argentina keeper Sergio Romero saved two kicks in the shootout, the first one taken by Ron Vlaar and the third taken by Wesley Sneijder. According to this video floating around the web — closing in on half a million views in less than 24 hours — Romero had help via some type of notes stuffed into the waistband of his shorts.
The video is inconclusive. Either way, the first Dutch attempt taken by Vlaar wasn’t a great penalty. Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said afterward two players declined to go first, leaving it up to the Aston Villa defender, who’d played a great game up until that point. It’s doubtful the Argentina staff project Vlaar taking a penalty and if they did it certainly wasn’t first.
The save on Sneijder took a great effort from Romero too, notes or not.
I suppose in the wake of van Gaal swapping keepers in the quarterfinals vs. Costa Rica, penalty kicks are now always going to be about mind games or trying to figure out a way to rattle the opposition before they line up to the spot.
For what it’s worth, eight years ago Argentina was eliminated by Germany in a shootout in the quarterfinals. Later it was revealed German keeper Jens Lehmann had hidden notes in his sock.