Sao Paulo: Apart from Germany, the Champagne fizz has suddenly gone flat at a World Cup that was being hailed earlier as the best in recent memory. Goals that seemed to pour from a spigot have now slowed to intermittent drips.
The Netherlands once led the tournament with 12 goals, but it has not scored since the Round of 16. In Wednesday's semifinal loss on penalty kicks to Argentina, the Dutch produced one shot on target. It was the lowest number for the Netherlands in a World Cup match since record keeping began in 1966, according to the Opta statistical service. (Latin American reluctantly rallies behind Argentina against Germany)
Lionel Messi has scored four goals and has rescued Argentina with late heroics, but he has not found the net since group play. As Wednesday's semifinal went scoreless through regulation and extra time, he did not touch the ball in the penalty area until he set it down for a penalty kick, Opta reported. (Related: Argentina fined for flouting FIFA rules ahead of final)