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BC-AP--World Cup Digest, AP

July 10, 2014

The AP World Cup Digest at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT). The supervisor of the World Cup desk in Rio de Janeiro is Simon Haydon. The desk can be reached at 0055 21 348 264 84.

TOP STORIES:

WCUP-NETHERLANDS-ARGENTINA

SAO PAULO — Goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved two penalties Wednesday to send Argentina into the World Cup final with a 4-2 shootout win over the Netherlands after the game finished in a 0-0 stalemate. A day after Germany lit up the World Cup with its clinical 7-1 destruction of host Brazil, the Netherlands and Argentina could not manage a goal between them in 120 minutes before the shootout. By Mike Corder. SENT. 750 words.

WCUP-ROMERO

SAO PAULO — Louis van Gaal took some credit for showing Argentina’s Sergio Romero how to stop penalties, advice that cost the Netherlands coach dearly on Wednesday. Romero stopped two spot kicks as Argentina beat van Gaal’s team 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the World Cup semifinals, advancing to the final against Germany. By Karl Ritter. SENT. 400 words.

WCUP-NETHERLANDS-VAN GAAL

SAO PAULO — Louis van Gaal’s luck finally ran out at the World Cup. The Netherlands coach appeared to have a golden tactical touch in Brazil. He switched systems during matches to force victories, brought on substitutes who scored within minutes and — most amazingly of all — swapped goalkeepers for a penalty shootout victory. By Mike Corder. SENT. 500 words.

NEW/DEVELOPING

JOHN LEICESTER-090714

SAO PAULO — The World Cup can only hope that Lionel Messi is leaving his best for last. In the most important World Cup match to date in his epoch-shaping career, football’s superstar was neither super nor a star. The four-time world player of the year was a bystander, not a decisive protagonist, for large chunks of Wednesday’s semifinal, his first on football’s biggest stage. By John Leicester. SENT. 900 words.

WCUP-ARGENTINA-HEAD INJURIES

SAO PAULO — Javier Mascherano and Pablo Zabaleta both stayed in the game for Argentina after being knocked down by blows to their heads during Wednesday’s World Cup semifinal. Mascherano looked discombobulated after he clashed heads with Georginio Winjaldum in the first half against the Netherlands. By Karl Ritter. SENT. 200 words.

WCUP-BRAZIL-NEXT GAME

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and his players are trying to put the devastating semifinal loss to Germany behind them as quickly as possible, turning their focus to the farewell match at their home World Cup. Scolari on Wednesday said they have to find a way to move on, and the team already has a new objective: win the third-place game Saturday to give fans some reason to celebrate. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 500 words, photos.

WCUP-ARGENTINA FANS

SAO PAULO — It was Argentina’s joy, and another sting for Brazil. Argentina beat the Netherlands on Wednesday to reach World Cup final — doing it on archrival Brazil’s soil, and just a day after Brazil was humiliated in a 7-1 loss to Germany. Thousands of Argentina fans who traveled to Brazil for the tournament wept, kissed and raised their hands to the sky when their team won 4-2 on penalty kicks, sending it to the final for the first time in more than two decades. SENT. 400 words.

WCUP-GERMANY-SPAIN EFFECT

PORTO SEGURO, Brazil — Germany has taken the “tiki-taka” passing game so intrinsically used by Spain to another level at the World Cup in Brazil, by adding ruthless efficiency to the possession philosophy. Germany is one win from capturing its fourth World Cup title following the astonishing 7-1 demolition of host Brazil in the semifinals. By Nesha Starcevic. SENT: 550 words, photos.

WCUP-TICKET SCALPING

RIO DE JANEIRO — The director of a World Cup hospitality company implicated in ticket scalping surrendered his tournament credentials on Thursday. The MATCH group, which owns rights to sell World Cup hospitality tickets, says Ray Whelan denies wrongdoing. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 330 words.

WCUP-NIGERIA

RIO DE JANEIRO — FIFA has suspended Nigeria from international competition after football leaders were fired by the government following the team’s World Cup exit amid a dispute over player bonuses. The suspension took effect immediately on Wednesday, with Nigerian teams and officials barred from international matches and meetings. SENT: 250 words.

WCUP-GERMANY-MERKEL

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to the World Cup final in Brazil, giving Germany’s most prominent fan perhaps her best chance yet to watch the team lift a trophy after eight years of very public support. Merkel has become a frequent sight at Germany matches since the country hosted the World Cup in 2006, a few months after she took office — and a regular visitor to the team’s dressing room. Tuesday’s stunning 7-1 demolition of Brazil put Germany into the final for the first time since 2002, setting the scene for Merkel’s second appearance at this World Cup. By Geir Moulson. SENT: 450 words, photos.

WCUP-BRAZIL WATCHES

SAO PAULO — It wasn’t just a bad dream. Brazilians woke up Wednesday to dreadful headlines describing the shame and humiliation of their soccer team’s historic 7-1 defeat to Germany in a World Cup semifinal. By Adriana Gomez Licon. SENT: 650 words, photos.

ALSO

— UNDATED — WCUP-ON THIS DAY. SENT.

— UNDATED __ WORLD CUP GLANCE. SENT.

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