World Cup 2014: Louis van Gaal says no-one wanted first penalty

Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero saves a penalty
Argentina's goalkeeper Sergio Romero saves a penalty

Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal says two of his players refused to take the first penalty in their World Cup semi-final shootout defeat by Argentina.

Defender Ron Vlaar stepped up but Sergio Romero saved his kick. Argentina went on to win the shootout 4-2 and will face Germany in Sunday’s final.

“I asked two players to take the first ball before ending up with Vlaar,” said new Manchester United boss Van Gaal.

“I thought he was the best player on the pitch so should have confidence.”

He added: “It just goes to show it’s not easy scoring in a shootout.

“It’s the most terrible scenario, to lose on penalties. At the very least we were equal with them, if not the better team. It’s a big disappointment.”

The last-four tie in Sao Paulo was decided by penalties following a goalless draw where both sides barely threatened in an uninspiring 120 minutes.

The Dutch scored all four of their spot-kicks to beat Costa Rica in the quarter-final shootout when captain Robin van Persie converted their first effort.

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