Netherlands vs Argentina Highlights: Messi’s Argentina beat Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to reach semis | Football News


NEW DELHI: Argentina and Lionel Messi kept his World Cup dream alive on a nervy night as they beat Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to reach the semi-finals on Saturday. Argentina will now face last edition runners-up Croatia, who knocked Brazil out of the tournament with a shootout win on Friday, in the final four stages on Wednesday.
The two-time champions were on course for the semi-finals after taking a 2-0 lead late in the second half, before replacing Wout Weghorst took the game into extra time by scoring two late goals for the Netherlands. The Netherlands’ second goal came as late as the 111th minute. The score remained level at 2-2 after 30 minutes of extra time as well, setting the stage for a dramatic penalty shootout at Lusail Stadium.
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Argentinian goalkeeper Emily Martinez also saved the Netherlands’ first two penalties to give Argentina a 2-0 advantage in the shootout. But Enzo Fernandes, who was the fourth penalty taker, missed his free kick for Argentina to give the Netherlands a glimmer of hope, before Lautaro Martinez scored the winner for the South American team.
It was Messi’s magic again for Argentina in regulation time, scoring their first goal with an assist to Nahuel Molina in the first half. He then converted a 73rd-minute penalty to give Argentina a two-goal cushion, before Weghorst came off the bench and turned the game upside down. But in the end, it was a happy ending for Messi and co.

Messi celebrated with arms raised in front of the massive ranks of Argentine fans, his hopes of securing football’s biggest prize in the fifth attempt intact for a few more days.
A third bench clearance scrum of the game took place behind him as some of the Dutch players, distraught after coming so close to one of the biggest comebacks in World Cup history, clashed with their Argentinian rivals.
Seemingly on their way back to 2-0 with just seven minutes of regulation time remaining, the Dutch scored twice through substitute Weghorst to send the game into two goalless extra periods.
Messi, almost inevitably, had played a major role in giving Argentina the lead.

While it was Molina’s goal that put Argentina ahead in the 35th minute, it was Messi who unlocked a stifling Dutch defense that had stifled all previous chances.
The 35-year-old released the ball from 40 yards out and passed to his left past a wall of markers before slipping a pass to the right to Molina on the edge of the box.
The winger took a throw-in and pushed the ball past rushing goalkeeper Andries Noppert to send the vast majority of the 88,235 spectators at Lusail Stadium into paroxysms of joy.
There was more excitement for the Albiceleste faithful in the 73rd minute when Messi slapped a penalty kick into the middle of the right net after Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuna on the edge of the box.

With tactics more reminiscent of Sunday Park football than Total Football, the Dutch returned to the competition by bombarding the Argentinian area with high balls aimed at their big target men.
They were rewarded with an 83rd-minute goal when Steven Berghuis crossed from the right and substitute team-mate Wout Weghorst headed the ball past Martinez’s dive.
The Argentines held on to their lead until the 11th minute of stoppage time when Teun Koopmeiners cleverly reversed a free kick and found Weghorst free to slip the ball past Martinez and improve the game.
The Argentines were shocked by the turnaround in the first period of extra time but regained their composure to pepper the Dutch goal with shots, Enzo Hernandez coming closest with a raspy effort that hit the post.
The defeat was the Dutchman’s first in 20 appearances since last year’s European Championship and ended 71-year-old Louis van Gaal’s third spell as manager.
(With agency contributions)



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