Argentina kept World Cup hopes alive after a fanatical victory against the Netherlands on Friday. The matchup will go down as one of the best quarterfinals in tournament history. In the end, the South Americans advanced to the semi-finals in a penalty shootout.
It looked like Argentina could cruise past the Dutch early in the game. Nahuel Molina put the South Americans 1-0 in the first half with the help of Lionel Messi. Messi placed an incredible pass in Molina’s path and the fullback fired home.
It was the defender’s first ever international goal for his team. At the other end of the spectrum, the assist was Messi’s seventh in his World Cup career.
Argentina doubled their lead in the 73rd minute when Dutch fullback Denzel Dumfries knocked down Marcos Acuna in the penalty area. Messi, of course, would take the penalty and convert it. Three minutes later, however, an incident occurred that seemed to turn the momentum towards the Dutch.
Martinez’s antics wake up the Dutch team
Emi Martinez stood over Dutch striker Luuk de Jong after an innocent collection of a cross in his penalty area. The bizarre move seemed to put a fire under the Dutch national team. Substitute Wout Weghorst gave the Netherlands the goal barely seven minutes after the incident. It wouldn’t be the last we heard from the attacker.
Weghorst finally leveled the score in the 10th and last minute of normal time. The Netherlands worked out an incredible free-kick routine as Teun Koopmeiners played the short ball to Weghorst and the striker completed his brace.
The Dutchman scored as many goals in 20 minutes tonight as for Burnley during the game season 2021/22.
Argentina beats the Netherlands on World Cup penalties
Despite not making any saves in the 120th minute game, Martinez blocked the first two penalties he faced in the shootout. Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis both failed to convert their penalties. Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez later put the last dagger in the Dutch team.
The epic match was also strewn everywhere. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz dealt a total of 17 cards in the match. However, none of them resulted in a player being sent off. Leandro Paredes was perhaps the luckiest player not to see multiple cards after committing a foul and then kicking the ball into the Dutch bench.
Argentina will now face Croatia in the semi-finals of the World Cup on Tuesday, December 13.
PHOTO: IMAGO / bildbyran
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