WC 2022: Argentina beat the Netherlands on penalties in a humdinger of a battle

(Football news) Argentina claimed a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Netherlands to claim a spot in the World Cup semifinals after they surprisingly threw away a two-goal lead in a late collapse in regulation time. Lionel Messi was phenomenal as he converted his penalty in the shootout and Argentina found a new hero in their goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez who saved two penalties in the shootout. Lautaro Martinez scored the clinching penalty as the match finished 2-2 after extra time, with Messi scoring one goal and beautifully setting up another for Molina. The Netherlands had other ideas as they equalised in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time.

In the first half, Messi provided a superb assist with a delicate pass which threaded the Dutch defence as right back Nahuel Molina slotted past goalkeeper Andries Noppert to hand Argentina a first-half lead. The Paris Saint-Germain forward then went on to add a second goal on 73rd minutes with a well-taken penalty. Messi scored from the penalty spot for his fourth goal of this year’s World Cup. It subsequently took him to 10 goals in the World Cup which tied him with Gabriel Batistuta for the most for Argentina, and 94 goals in total in his 169 international games.

The match looked done and dusted but Wout Weghorst had other ideas as he scored a header in the 82nd minute to claw one back for Netherlands to set up a tense end. Netherlands were handed a final lifeline at the end of the match with what looked to be the last kick of the match when midfielder Teun Koopmeiners stepped up to take a free-kick. The Atalanta midfielder shocked everyone in the ground to slide a pass under the wall and was brilliantly tucked home by Weghorst. The match went into extra time where Enzo Fernandez hit the post near the end of extra time and was the only Argentina player to fail to score in the shootout.

For Netherlands, their captain Virgil van Dijk and winger Steven Berghuis missed the first opening two penalties, while Argentina converted their first three before Fernandez hit the post with a fourth penalty which gave Netherlands a glimmer of hope. However, Lautaro Martinez stepped up and slotted home to secure a dramatic victory and set up a semifinal clash with Croatia on Tuesday. The loss for Netherlands eliminates them as well as signalling the end of head coach Louis van Gaal’s third spell in charge. The 71-year-old coach underwent treatment for prostate cancer and has already made clear ahead of the tournament this would be his last in charge.

“Argentina are among the four best in the world because we showed we know how to play every game with the same desire and the same intensity. A lot of joy, a lot of happiness. We didn’t have to suffer and play extra time or go to penalties. But we got through and it’s impressive.”

Messi said after advancing to the World Cup semi final for the second time in his career


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