Argentina kept its World Cup hopes alive and well following a fanatical victory against the Netherlands on Friday. The matchup will go down as one of the greatest quarterfinal games in tournament’s storied lore. In the end, the South Americans advanced to the semifinals in a penalty shootout.
It looked like Argentina may cruise passed the Dutch early in the match. Nahuel Molina, with help from Lionel Messi, put the South Americans up 1-0 in the first half. Messi placed an incredible pass into the path of Molina and the fullback slotted home.
It was the defender’s first ever international goal for his team. On the other side 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 brought down Marcos Acuna inside the box. Messi, of course, would take and then convert the spot kick. However, there was an incident three minutes later that seemed to flip the momentum towards the Dutchmen.
Martinez’s antics wake up Dutch team
Emi Martinez stood over Netherlands striker Luuk de Jong after harmlessly collecting a cross in his penalty area. The bizarre move seemed to put a fire under the Dutch team. Substitute Wout Weghorst gave the Netherlands their goal just seven minutes after the incident. It wouldn’t be the last we heard from the forward.
Weghorst eventually leveled the scoreline in the 10th, and final, minute of normal time. The Netherlands worked an incredible free kick routine as Teun Koopmeiners played the short ball to Weghorst and the striker completed his brace.
The Dutchman had as many goals tonight in 20 minutes as he did for Burnley during the 2021/22 season.
Argentina beats the Netherlands on World Cup penalties
Despite not making a single save in the 120-minute match, Martinez blocked the first two penalties that he faced in the shootout. Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis both failed to convert their penalty shots. Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez later put the final dagger into the Netherlands team.
The epic match was also littered with fouls and yellow cards throughout. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz handed out 17 total cards in the game. None, however, resulted in a player being sent off. Leandro Paredes was perhaps the luckiest player not to see multiple cards after committing a rough foul and subsequently firing the ball into the Dutch bench.
Argentina will now face Croatia in the World Cup semifinals on Tuesday, December 13th.
PHOTO: IMAGO / bildbyran
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