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FIFA World Cup: Argentina through after ousting Netherlands

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Netherlands 2 2 Argentina
Scenes after the final penalty with Argentina defeating Netherlands in the quarter-final tie in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |
  • Argentina played Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar on Friday night
  • Argentina took a 2-0 lead in the match and were cruising to the semis but the Dutch fought back
  • Two goals in quick succession by the Netherlands pushed the match to extra time and then to the penalty shootout

After a thrilling 2-2 tie, Emiliano Martinez helped Argentina defeat the Netherlands in a penalty shootout.

Martinez stopped Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis before Lautaro Martinez converted the go-ahead penalty kick to advance Argentina to the semifinal matchup against Croatia.

By setting up Nahuel Molina’s first goal and then scoring again from the penalty spot, Lionel Messi appeared to have given Argentina the victory in regular time. However, two late goals from Wout Weghorst extended the game past the 90-minute mark.

Ten minutes before halftime, Messi’s brilliance enlivened a dull first half in which both teams were satisfied to maintain possession but without the ability to do anything with it.

The Paris Saint-Germain player scooped up the ball 40 yards from goal, swerved his body to take a few opponents out, and then passed it to Molina, who made a good finish from 10 yards.

After 73 minutes, Denzel Dumfries made a careless trip on Marcos Acuna right inside the penalty area, leading to Argentina’s second goal.

Messi made no mistakes this time, blasting his shot to Andries Noppert’s left after Messi failed from the penalty spot against Poland earlier in the tournament.

Netherlands 2 - 2 Argentina

Argentina players celebrate after Lionel Messi scored their second against the Netherlands in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. | PHOTO: Sky Sports |

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal introduced Weghorst with 12 minutes remaining, and it was a brilliant move.

Five minutes after being introduced, Weghorst halved the deficit by heading in Berghuis’ inswinging cross. He then scored another crucial goal with almost the final kick of regular time.

Everyone in the stadium anticipated Teun Koopmeiners would attempt to score from a free kick 20 yards away. Still, instead, he slipped a deft pass to Weghorst, who finished the job by sliding it past Emiliano Martinez.

Netherlands 2-2 Argentina

Netherlands players celebrate after Wout Weghorst scored his second and the equaliser against Argentina in the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. | PHOTO: National |

After the final horn, players from both sides became involved in pushing and shoving in a game that had experienced frequent flashpoints in the second half.

Enzo Fernandez, who came closest with a 20-yard drive that smacked against the outside of the post in the final minute, could not help Argentina win extra time despite their best efforts.

The Netherlands’ first two attempts to give Argentina the upper hand were then foiled by Emiliano Martinez, who subsequently assumed the spotlight. Enzo Fernandez shot wide to heighten the tension, and then Lautaro Martinez scored with ease, setting off raucous celebrations.

What a day to be an Argentina supporter! Upon hearing that Brazil had lost to Croatia in a penalty shootout, there were cheers from the crowd at Lusail Stadium before their own team accomplished what their bitter opponents had failed to do and advanced to the World Cup semifinals.

Argentina still appears functional rather than fluid, but if they can maintain their defence’s tightness, they have a genius in Messi who can create opportunities at the other end of the field.

Wonderful Messi stands by himself

Simply fantastic. Even if he may not be as dominant in games as he was ten years ago, he still performs when it counts.

He came up with the first with his trademark impish brilliance and maintained his composure twice to convert two penalties, one of which was in the shootout.

Fantastic Weghorst

Van Gaal sent on Weghorst after 78 minutes of largely ineffective attacking activity in the hopes that he would work some last-minute magic. The Besiktas striker more than met expectations.

Although his characteristic glancing header was mostly expected, his second goal—a deft finish following a deft free-kick routine that fooled Argentina’s defence—was not.

In the first semi-final on Tuesday, Argentina will face Croatia, while the Netherlands will return home.

Nathan Sialah is a journalist by profession with interest in politics, sports, cryptocurrency and human interests with 5 years experience in Radio and Digital Journalism. This has helped Sialah develop a responsible approach to any task he undertakes or any situation that he is presented with.

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