Argentina beat Netherlands in penalty shootout to reach Qatar 2022 semi-finals in World Cup thriller



CNN

Argentina and Lionel Messi are expected to win World Cup 2022 Be very much alive after a penalty shootout win over the Netherlands in a thrilling match in Qatar.

Leading 2-0 thanks to goals from Nahuel Molina and Messi, the Netherlands staged a stunning comeback as Wout Weghorst’s brace ensured the game went into extra time.

With neither side finding a winner in those extra 30 minutes, the match was decided on penalties and Argentina goalkeeper Amy Martinez made herself the hero. albiceleste, Two Dutch spot kicks saved.

Martinez has made a name for himself as a specialist in penalty shootouts, saving three in Argentina’s Copa America semi-final against Colombia last year and further cementing his place as Argentina’s hero in Qatar.

After Enzo Fernandez missed the first penalty to give Argentina victory, Lutaro Martinez stepped up and tapped home the winner to send the thousands of Argentina fans at the Lucille Stadium into a frenzy.

Argentina’s players were still off the pitch after the shoot-out, no doubt celebrating long into the night in Qatar.

It was another remarkable end to a tournament at this World Cup that has seen all manner of shocks and comebacks, though it may have surpassed all.

Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz, known for his eccentricity and enjoyment of the limelight, certainly added to the drama, dishing out numerous yellow cards, including one in the shootout, as he struggled to keep control of the game.

There were no less than three mass fights throughout the 120 minutes and penalties, the first of which was smashed by Leandro Paredes on the edge of the pitch straight into the Netherlands dugout.

The game will undoubtedly go down as a World Cup classic, but Argentina will need to bring themselves back down to earth ahead of their semi-final against knockout specialists Croatia.

Millions of Argentinians dream of the day Messi will follow the late Diego Maradona and lift the World Cup. That day is now one step closer.

Messi, 35, has done everything in his power to ensure Argentina have the best chance of winning their first World Cup title since 1986.

There were moments of Messi’s magical football fans have grown accustomed to over the years, notably his stunning touch and finish against Mexico in the group stages, which gave Argentina a crucial breakthrough after a shock defeat by Saudi Arabia.

Some fans will line up Argentina as favorites ahead of the match, but anything is possible at any time in Messi’s team.

Under head coach Lionel Scaloni, the former Argentina international, the team is in a better place than it has been for some time and will win the Copa America in 2021, the national team’s first major trophy since 1993 and Messi’s first in the famous blue. And the white shirt.

Lionel Messi's penalty gave Argentina a 2-0 lead in the second half.

However, Argentina have yet to put together a convincing 90 minutes in Qatar and defensive lapses have undoubtedly been a hindrance in recent years.

The Dutch, meanwhile, failed to impress in the group stages but beat the US men’s national team 3-1 in the Round of 16 and beat Memphis Depay’s opener in that game, a patient, no-nonsense group move. Question about one of the best goals of the tournament so far.

This will be the sixth World Cup meeting between these two teams and the tournament has provided plenty of history over the years. From Mario Kempes-inspired victory in the 1978 final to Dennis Bergkamp’s stunning goal in the 1998 quarter-final, the competition saw another player ready to write their name in football folklore.

The opening 35 minutes were predictably cagey, with neither side willing to take too many risks when in possession.

But, unsurprisingly, it was Messi who broke open a stubborn Dutch defense with a comical, almost improbable, moment of genius.

Running down the left side of the penalty area, the Argentina captain played a ridiculous reverse pass perfectly into the path of Molina, who took a touch and slotted the ball past Andres Nobert.

Replays show that Messi never once looked up to see Molina’s run; Only he knows how he saw the pass, let alone played it. Just when you think you’ve seen it all in his 18-year career, Messi still finds a way.

When Messi made it 2-0 from the penalty spot after 75 minutes, it looked like game over. However, if there’s one thing at the World Cup in Qatar, it’s that these matches are never over until the referee blows for full time.

Given little chance over 80 minutes, the Netherlands opted to hammer long ball after long ball towards the Argentine penalty area, targeting 6ft 6in substitutes Wekhorst and Virgil van Dijk.

Wood Wekhorst completed an improbable comeback for the Netherlands.

It paid off brilliantly as Wekhorst brilliantly headed home Steven Berghuis’ through ball with just under eight minutes to play.

That goal set up a grandstand result that included the first three mass fights.

In the last play of the game, the Netherlands were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area.

It looked like Cody Kakpo or Dean Koopmeiners were going to have a shot on goal, but the latter played a clever pass into Wekhorst, who turned his defender and slotted the ball past Martinez.

The goal sparked wild scenes with the entire Netherlands bench celebrating with a corner flag, silencing the thousands of Argentina fans who had been wildly rowdy throughout the game.

It was an almost unthinkable occurrence with Wekhorst, who has struggled to make an impact at Burnley and is currently on loan at Besiktas, temporarily halting Messi’s inevitable march towards a World Cup title.

After the penalty shootout the Argentine players celebrated in the face of the Dutch players.

However, Messi and the Argentine were undeterred and kept their cool from the spot to produce an incredible evening.

After Martinez scored the winning penalty, some of the Argentina team celebrated in the face of distraught Dutch players, and more sour scenes followed, sparking renewed anger.

Messi is now close to lifting his first World Cup and it will take something special to stop an incredible player who seems hell-bent on lifting the trophy he so desperately wants.

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