Gonzalo Higuain: Germany cannot rattle us in final
Argentina striker is adamant South Americans have healthy respect for - but no fear of - the team who shattered Brazil's chance at glory
Argentina are not intimidated at the prospect of facing Germany in the World Cup final despite seeing them tear hosts Brazil to shreds in the semis, striker Gonzalo Higuain has insisted.
"There's no intimidation, not at all. There is respect. They will also be worried that Argentina is in the final," Higuain said after his side beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out, following a goalless draw, to book their place in the final.
Joachim Loew-coached Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 on Tuesday in one of the most shocking results in soccer history, but Higuain said Argentina had no reason to fear anyone.
"We're in the final and the other stuff doesn't matter. Everyone who plays struggles and fights to the death," he said.
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero told his compatriots to bask in the glory after saving two penalties in the shoot-out.
"Enjoy the moment. We will enjoy it and then we will start working for the final," he said. "I feel immense happiness. [Penalties] are a question of luck, that is the reality. I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well.
"Hope has been intact since day one," he added.
Romero, who was voted man of the match for his shoot-out heroics, had warm words for both coaches.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal was the keeper's boss at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, who he joined in 2007, and Van Gaal joked after the match that he had taught Romero how to save penalties. "I went to the dressing room to thank him [Van Gaal]," Romero said.
"He is someone who helped me a lot when I arrived in Holland, in a completely different country, with different customs, where they spoke a completely different language.
"At the beginning, I didn't speak a word, and he spoke Spanish and he helped me a lot. So just as I am grateful to [Argentina coach] Alejandro [Sabella], I am also grateful to Van Gaal for everything he did for me."
Sabella said it had been a difficult and tight game. "I'm very happy because we reached the final and now we will see what we can do," he said. "We will give everything as usual, with humility, work and 100 per cent effort."
He voiced concern over having less time to recover for Sunday's final in Rio de Janeiro than Germany, who were able to rest players in the second half of their semi-final with the result all but secure.
"We could do with a couple more days to rest, but what is important is that we made it to the final," he said.
"Let's see how we handle it. Some of the players are sore, beaten, tired. It is the result of a 'war'; we will give the full report as to the casualties tomorrow."
He said he was happy with his team's performance, but singled out midfielder Javier Mascherano, who kept out Arjen Robben's effort on goal with a brilliantly timed tackle near the end of normal time with the score at 0-0.
"Mascherano is a symbol," he said. "I would say he is an outstanding player. He is an emblem within our national squad on the field of play as well as off it."