Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal struggled to find a player to take the first penalty in their 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ semi-final shoot-out defeat to Argentina.

After a goalless 120 minutes the Dutch took the first spot-kick but, having eventually settled on defender Ron Vlaar after two players passed up the invitation, the Aston Villa captain saw his effort saved.

It was one of two blocks by goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who played under Van Gaal during a spell in Holland with AZ Alkmaar, as the South Americans converted four to their opponents' two.

Holland had got through their quarter-final against Costa Rica on penalties but it did not help them this time around.

"It should give you confidence. We took those penalties in an incredible way against Costa Rica," Van Gaal told a press conference. "But the issue is you score the first one and I asked two players to take the first ball before ending up with Vlaar.

"I thought he was the best player on the pitch so should have a lot of confidence. It just goes to show it's not easy scoring in a penalty shoot-out.

"It's the most terrible scenario, to lose on penalties: at the very least we were equal with them, if not the better team. It's a big disappointment."