Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi’s goals gave the Netherlands a 2-0 lead with only eight minutes remaining in the game. However, the Netherlands mounted an incredible comeback, forcing extra time with a pair of goals from Wout Weghorst.
Goalkeeper Emi Martinez of Argentina made himself the hero for La Albiceleste by saving two Dutch penalty attempts after neither team could find a winner in the extra 30 minutes.
Martinez has established a reputation as a master of the penalty shootout after saving three in Argentina’s Copa America semifinal match against Colombia last year. In Qatar, Martinez solidified his status as an Argentine hero.
Thousands of Argentine fans inside the Lusail Stadium went into a frenzy when Lautaro Martinez stepped up and slammed home the winning penalty kick after Enzo Fernandez missed the first penalty that would have given Argentina the victory.
After the shootout ended, Argentina’s players stayed on the field to enjoy the cheers of their adoring fans, who will undoubtedly continue to party well into the night in Qatar.
This World Cup has seen numerous shockers and comebacks, but this one may have surpassed them all. It was another incredible match ending.
Mateu Lahoz, a notoriously eccentric and flamboyant Spanish referee, contributed to the drama by issuing a number of yellow cards, including one during the shootout, while struggling to maintain control of the match.
Leandro Paredes’ direct shot into the Netherlands dugout at the side of the field set off the first of three huge brawls that broke out over the 120 minutes and penalty shootout.
Lahoz’s punishments became tough to keep track of, but according to FIFA, 18 yellow cards (including two for Dumfries) and one red card were shown during the quarterfinal.
Millions of Argentines have imagined the day when Messi will win the World Cup in honor of the late Diego Maradona. That day is now a little bit nearer.
Messi – One Of The Best.
The 35-year-old Messi has done everything within his abilities to guarantee Argentina had the best chance possible to capture a first World Cup trophy since 1986.
There have been brief instances of the Messi magic that football fans have come to expect over the years, most notably his superb touch and finish against Mexico in the group stages that handed Argentina a necessary victory following the shocking loss to Saudi Arabia.
Prior to the competition, few fans would have picked Argentina as one of the favorites, but everything is possible when Messi is on the team.
The team is in better shape than it has been in quite some time under head coach Lionel Scaloni, a former Argentine international, and in 2021, it won the Copa America, the first major championship for the national team since 1993 and Messi’s first in the renowned blue and white shirt.
Argentina hasn’t yet managed a convincing 90 minutes, though, and its defensive issues from recent years surely persist.
While the Dutch underwhelmed in the group stages, they significantly improved in their 3-1 round-of-16 victory over the United States Men’s National Team. Memphis Depay’s opening goal in that match, a patient, inquisitive team move, is unquestionably one of the best goals of the competition thus far.
This was the sixth time these two sides have faced off in a World Cup, and the matchup has a rich history. This rivalry was primed for another player to write their name into soccer mythology after Mario Kempes’ inspirational victory in the 1978 championship and Dennis Bergkamp’s incredible goal in the 1998 quarterfinals.
No team was ready to attempt many chances when in possession throughout the opening 35 minutes, which was predictable.
Unsurprisingly, Messi was the one to break through the obstinate Dutch defense with a ridiculous, nearly impossible stroke of genius.
The Argentina captain was moving toward the left side of the penalty box when he played an unbelievable reverse pass straight into Molina’s path. Molina used one touch to nudge the ball beyond Andries Noppert. Only Messi will know how he saw the pass, let alone played it, as it was evident from replays that he never once looked up to observe Molina’s run. In his 18-year career, Messi has proven himself time and time again to leave audiences in awe.