Argentina reached their first FIFA World Cup final in 24 years on Wednesday, beating the Netherlands 4-2 on penalties after the first scoreless semi in the tournament's history, with old foes Germany awaiting them in Sunday's showpiece.
The match will be a repeat of the 1986 and 1990 World Cup finals, the first of which was won by Argentina before the then West Germany gained revenge four years later.
Argentina's win compounded the misery for hosts Brazil who were humiliated 7-1 by Germany on Tuesday before seeing their worst fears realised when their South American neighbours booked their place at the Maracana on Sunday.
Midfielder Maxi Rodriguez scored the decisive penalty for Argentina after their goalkeeper Sergio Romero had saved spot kicks from Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder, triggering wild celebrations among Lionel Messi's triumphant team.
"I'm proud to be a part of this group," Messi said in a statement posted on his social media pages.
"They are all phenomenons, what a match they played.
"What madness. We are in the final. Let's enyoy it, it is just a litle step more."
Brazil may have won the World Cup more than any other country, but the one they wanted most of all will now be played between two of their greatest rivals.
For Brazilians, it is unpalatable prospect for the mourning samba nation but for soccer fans, it is a dream showdown between a German team that has wowed everyone at the tournament and Messi, the four-time World Player of the year who has won every honour except the World Cup.
Wednesday's second semi-final in Sao Paulo could not have been more different than Tuesday's goalfest in Belo Horizonte but the sheer tension of the occasion had fans on the edge of their seats.
"I'm very happy because we reached the final and now we will see what we can do," said Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella. "We will give everything as usual, with humility, work and 100 percent effort."
Neither Argentina or the Netherlands created many chances in a dour game that was dominated by defence but ultimately came down to a battle of nerves when they finished deadlocked at 0-0 after extra time.
For players and fans, the tension was almost unbearable and it was the Dutch, who have played in three World Cup finals, including the last one in Johannesburg four years ago, but never won one, who fluffed their lines in the shootout.
It was also a second semi-final defeat