Netherlands manager Louis Van Gaal says that while he was with AZ Alkmaar, he taught Sergio Romero how to stop penalty kicks. Whether it was something he learned from Van Gaal or skills acquired elsewhere, Romero delivered in the clutch to oust the Netherlands and send Argentina into the World Cup championship game against Germany.
Romero became the most recent hero for Argentina by stopping two of the Netherlands four penalty kicks in the shootout after a 0-0 draw.
But before Romero became an international sensation for his penalty-kick heroics Wednesday, he was known for warming the bench for his club team in France.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper started in only three matches for Monaco last season, serving as Danijel Subasic's backup. Subasic was the second-string keeper for the Croatian National Team during the 2014 World Cup.
Throughout his up-and-down career, Romero has held the starting goalkeeper job for the Argentina National Team since the 2010 World Cup. During his time with the national team, Romero has started in 11 World Cup games and won a gold medal the 2008 Olympics.
Romero repaid manager Alejandro Sabella’s faith in him. Sabella had been the target of criticism by the Argentine media outlets for sticking with Romero. Now the papers in Argentina bear the headline "Hands of God," referring to the famous incident in 1986 where Diego Maradona intentionally handballed the ball into the goal.
Romero understands the task ahead of Argentina.
"Enjoy the moment, we will enjoy it and tomorrow we will start working for the final," he said. "I feel immense happiness, I'm really happy with everything. (Penalties) are a question of luck, that is the reality. I had confidence in myself and, fortunately, everything turned out well."