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Argentina in final; Brazil's Cup nightmare deepens

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilians might have thought that their World Cup nightmare couldn't possibly get any worse — and then bitter rivals Argentina reached the final in their own backyard Wednesday.

Still agonizing over their traumatic 7-1 semifinal defeat to Germany just 24 hours earlier, Brazilians will now have to watch Argentina and their superstar Lionel Messi battle for the trophy in Rio de Janeiro's legendary Maracana Stadium on Sunday.

Many Brazilians rooted for the Netherlands to beat their South American neighbors in Wednesday's semifinal. But Argentina saw off the dogged Dutch 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in 120 minutes of attritional stalemate.

“Seeing Argentina in the final in our home hurts, especially after the Selecao's worst ever defeat,” said Marcio Carneiro da Silva, 36, a mailman drowning his sorrows with a beer on the terrace of a Rio de Janeiro restaurant.

His friend Cesar Augusto, 37, already picked a new team for Sunday.

“Now I'm German,” he said.

Brazilians noted that the final will be in the same stadium where Brazil lost the decisive game of the 1950 tournament to Uruguay, a defeat that traumatized the country.

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 Romero struggles and emerges to become hero of Argentina 
Brazil soccer fans cry as they watch their team get beaten during a live telecast of the World Cup semifinal between Brazil and Germany, inside the FIFA Fan Fest area on Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, July 08. (AP)

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