Saturday 14 December 2019

We must feed off the euphoria – Romero

Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero celebrates victory in the penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands
Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero celebrates victory in the penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Sergio Romero is not quite as well known as Manuel Neuer, but the Argentina goalkeeper is still confident of triumphing over his German counterpart in Sunday's World Cup final.

Argentina owe their place in the final to Romero, who saved two penalties in the shootout at the end of their semi-final with the Netherlands. His team-mates presented him with the match ball afterwards, but their focus now is on the final in the Maracana.

Germany are favourites, but Romero is confident that his team can win their third World Cup. "We can, we can," he said late on Wednesday night. "We have to work hard. We have to use this euphoria. From (Thursday), we'll think about what's to come, see what the coach wants for the next game, and stay relaxed."

The two teams met in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, only for Germany to turn over Argentina and win 4-0. Romero is confident that his side's superior spirit will ensure that they avoid a repeat of that result this time. "Four years have passed and we hope for better things. We've grown a lot," he said.

"From the first game (of this World Cup), there's been criticism, but the team puts their lives onto that pitch, they kill for each other. That's important. We're a group. You can see it on the pitch. Everyone runs for everyone on the pitch."

This World Cup has been a personal triumph for Romero too, after a season in which he barely played for Monaco, where he was on loan from Sampdoria.

"I grew in this time that has been difficult for me," he said. "All the staff and players backed me. So, when the game finished, they all came over to embrace me because it was a difficult year. The truth is I left the game delighted."

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