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Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to move into semis

Last updated on: December 10, 2022 04:33 IST
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IMAGES from the FIFA World Cup quarter-final played between Argentina and The Netherlands on Friday.

Argentina players celebrate with Lautaro Martinez after their win in the penalty shootout

IMAGE: Argentina players celebrate with Lautaro Martinez after their win in the penalty shootout. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout to keep Lionel Messi's World Cup dream alive on Friday after the Dutch had snatched a 2-2 draw from the jaws of defeat in an extraordinary quarter-final.

 

Emiliano Martinez saved the first two Dutch penalties to give Argentina a huge advantage and Lautaro Martinez sent Andries Noppert the wrong way to set up a date for the South Americans with Croatia in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

Argentina's Emiliano Martinez dives to save the first penalty taken by Netherlands' Virgil Van Dijk

IMAGE: Argentina's Emiliano Martinez dives to save the first penalty taken by Netherlands' Virgil Van Dijk. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

Messi celebrated with arms aloft in front of the massed ranks of Argentina fans, his hopes of securing football's biggest prize at the fifth attempt intact for a few more days.

"Argentina are among the four best in the world because they show that they know how to play every game with the same desire and the same intensity," said the 35-year-old Messi.

"A lot of joy, a lot of happiness. We didn't have to go to extra time or penalties, we had to suffer. But we got through and it's impressive."

Virgil Van Dijk clashes with Leandro Paredes

IMAGE: Virgil Van Dijk clashes with Leandro Paredes. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

A third bench-clearing melee of the match were a backdrop to Messi's celebrations as some of the Dutch players, distraught after coming so close to one of the greatest comebacks in World Cup history, clashed with their Argentine rivals.

A total of 17 yellow cards were shown throughout the contest by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu, and Dutch wingback Denzel Dumfries was sent off after the final whistle for his part in the final brawl.

The Netherlands' Wout Weghorst celebrates after scoring the team's second goal

IMAGE: The Netherlands' Wout Weghorst celebrates after scoring the team's second goal. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Apparently on their way home at 2-0 down with only seven minutes of normal time remaining, the Dutch had scored twice through substitute Wout Weghorst to send the match to two scoreless periods of extra time.

Messi, almost inevitably, had played a major role in giving Argentina their lead.

Netherlands' Wout Weghorst of Netherlands celebrates after scoring the team's first goal

IMAGE: Netherlands' Wout Weghorst of Netherlands celebrates after scoring the team's first goal. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

While it was Nahuel Molina's goal that put Argentina ahead in the 35th minute, it was Messi who unlocked a suffocating Dutch defence that had snuffed out any previous chances.

Lionel Messi scores from the penalty spot to score Argentina's second goal

IMAGE: Lionel Messi scores from the penalty spot to score Argentina's second goal. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Taking the ball 40 metres out, he ghosted to his left in front of a wall of markers before sliding a pass back to the right to Molina on the edge of the box.

The wingback took a touch and poked the ball past onrushing goalkeeper Andries Noppert to send the vast majority of the 88,235 crowd at Lusail Stadium into paroxysms of delight.

Lionel Messi takes a free-kick

IMAGE: Lionel Messi takes a free kick. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

There was more delirium for the Albiceleste faithful in the 73rd minute when Messi slapped a penalty kick in the right midriff of the net after Dumfries had fouled Marcos Acuna on the edge of the box.

With tactics more reminiscent of Sunday park football than Total Football, the Dutch got back into the contest by bombarding the Argentine area with high balls aimed at their tall target men.

Argentina's Alexis Mac Allister battles for possession with The Netherlands' Nathan Ake

IMAGE: Argentina's Alexis Mac Allister battles for possession with The Netherlands' Nathan Ake. Photograph: Elsa/Getty Images

They were rewarded with a goal in the 83rd minute when Steven Berghuis crossed from the right and his fellow substitute Wout Weghorst headed the ball past Martinez's dive.

The Argentines held onto their lead until 11 minutes into stoppage time when Teun Koopmeiners cleverly reversed a free kick and found Weghorst free to put the ball past Martinez and level up the match.

The Argentines were shell-shocked by the turnaround in the first period of extra time but recovered their composure to pepper the Dutch goal with shots, Enzo Hernandez coming closest to scoring with a rasping effort that hit the post.

Argentina's Nahuel Molina celebrates after scoring the opener

IMAGE: Argentina's Nahuel Molina celebrates after scoring the opener. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The late surge gave Argentina the momentum going into the shootout, and Martinez added to it when he stopped spot kicks from Van Dijk and Berghuis.

The defeat was the first for the Dutch in 20 matches going back to last year's European Championship and brought an end to 71-year-old Louis van Gaal's third spell as coach.

Lionel Messi is challenged by Frenkie de Jong 

IMAGE: Lionel Messi is challenged by Frenkie de Jong. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

"We practiced on penalties all year and then you screw it up," said Van Gaal.

"That's a pity. As a coach, I want to have everything under control. That is why I asked the players to take a penalty at their club, they all did. If you miss two, you won't win anymore. You simply cannot simulate such a series."

The Netherlands' Steven Bergwijn is tackled by Argentina's Cristian Romero. Romero was penalised for the challenge

IMAGE: The Netherlands' Steven Bergwijn is tackled by Argentina's Cristian Romero. Romero was penalised for the challenge. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Argetina's Lionel Messi controls the ball as he cuts past defenders 

IMAGE: Argetina's Lionel Messi controls the ball as he cuts past defenders. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

A general view as Virgil Van Dijk of Netherlands and Lionel Messi of Argentina lead their teams out prior to kick off

IMAGE: A general view as Virgil Van Dijk of Netherlands and Lionel Messi of Argentina lead their teams out prior to kick off. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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