Argentina knockout Netherlands in Penalties after an incredible Oranje comeback

Last Updated on 10/12/2022 by

After a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Lusail Iconic Stadium, an incredible Netherlands comeback was in vain as Argentina advanced to the World Cup 2022 semi-finals on penalties.

Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi’s goals gave Argentina a chance to advance to the semi-finals, but Wout Weghorst scored two outstanding goals off the bench, including one in the tenth minute of second-half injury time, to keep the game alive under the most dramatic conditions.

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The extra 30 minutes were fruitless in terms of goals scored, but the Copa America champions maintained their composure from the penalty spot to win 4-3 in the shootout and advance to the Croatian team’s semifinal.

It would be an understatement to say that the opening exchanges were cagey, as the Netherlands had an abundance of possession but was unable to convert it into anything significant. Unsurprisingly, Argentina’s offensive thrusts were led by seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi, whose unwavering brilliance enabled Argentina to take the lead after 35 minutes.

Before passing the ball to right-back Molina Messi’s twinkle toes lit up the Lusail Iconic Stadium. Molina then avoided Virgil van Dijk’s attention to poke the ball home into the far corner.

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Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis were substituted for Steven Bergwijn and Marten de Roon at halftime as a result of Argentina’s sudden turnabout and the Netherlands’ inability to respond to a five-man backline.

However, Oranje lacked offensive bite in the final third, and Argentina was content to soak up the pressure until Messi won a free kick in a crucial situation in the 63rd minute. However, the 35-year-strike old’s narrowly missed the crossbar.

In the 73rd minute, Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuna just inside the area, giving Messi the opportunity to double his tally from the penalty spot. The veteran left Noppert rooted to the spot with a flawless penalty into the side of the net, making Van Gaal’s team pay for their inaction.

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As Argentina’s all-time leading scorer in the World Cup, Messi now has 11 goals to Gabriel Batistuta’s 10. However, the Netherlands would unexpectedly give themselves a glimmer of hope in the 83rd minute when substitute Weghorst met Berghuis’s delivery from right to direct a header past Emiliano Martinez.

Berghuis’ attempt into the side netting in the 85th minute, during his side’s desperate search for a leveller, was the first time Van Gaal’s team showed any attacking intent during the first 80 minutes.

After fouling Nathan Ake, Leandro Paredes kicked the ball into the Dutch bench in the 89th minute, infuriating the Dutch fans and sparking a brief brawl. However, referee Mateu did not send anyone off the field.

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In the final minute of the Netherlands’ 10-minute extra time, Weghorst converted a last-ditch free kick from a promising position for Van Gaal’s team, giving them a chance to tie the score.

Instead of going for the goal, Koopmeiners played a deft pass into the box for Weghorst, who took a touch and miraculously managed to prod home to force an additional 30 minutes, before the two sets of hot heads immediately engaged in conflict once more.

Despite the heated exchanges off the ball, neither team ignited the game in the first period of extra time. However, in the 114th minute, Van Dijk had to maintain his composure to stop Lautaro Martinez’s powerful drive following some impressive work on the right by Angel Di Maria.

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A thrilling quarterfinal would need to be decided by penalties, and Argentina was in the driver’s seat after the first one when Emiliano Martinez sprung to his right to block Van Dijk’s shot.

Messi, who is always composed, successfully converted his penalty to give Argentina a 1-0 lead. Martinez then dove to his left to deny Berghuis before getting up and dancing in celebration.

Luuk de Jong sent Martinez the wrong way to keep the Dutch hope alive after Fernandez missed a chance to guarantee Argentina’s spot in the final four.

The fifth and final penalty for Argentina was required to end the game for good, and the Inter Milan striker maintained his composure to advance his country to the semifinals.


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