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Lionel Messi inspires Argentina to World Cup quarter-final victory as South Americans claim penalty shoot-out glory in fiery clash with Netherlands

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Lionel Messi was the star of the show as he inspired Argentina to a penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands in the World Cup.

As well as scoring a kick in normal time, he set up Nahuel Molina to score his first international goal in the quarter-final clash before keeping his cool in the shootout itself.

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Messi was the main man, as always, for Argentina

Argentine players celebrated at the end of a fiery game

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Argentine players celebrated at the end of a fiery game

Argentina thought the game was done and dusted with 20 minutes to go, leading 2-0 to Qatar thanks to Messi’s goal and assist.

But Wout Weghorst had other ideas, scoring seven minutes from time and then 10 minutes into added time.

Argentina seemed to be losing their grip, but when it was all on the line, they scored all but one of their five penalties to send the Dutchman home.

Messi was always going to be heavily involved and he was the man who brought the game to life 10 minutes before half-time.

Atletico Madrid right-back Molina was in the right place at the right time in the box as his iconic team-mate delivered a perfect reverse ball.

Stretching past Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk, Molina pushed the ball past Andries Noppert, sending the Argentina fans into delight.

Messi and Molina combined to put the semi-finals within touching distance

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Messi and Molina combined to put the semi-finals within touching distance

Molina got the end of a delicious pass from Messi

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Molina got the end of a delicious pass from Messi

The match had been a lackluster affair until the 35th minute, but it was the South Americans who broke through the Dutch defence, sending them into the break.

“Well it was that Argentina right side that they probably showed more threat,” said talkSPORT commentator for the game and former England captain Stuart Pearce after Molina’s goal.

“What a reverse pass from Messi, picked the ball up from around 35 yards, crossed the pitch and without even looking up he saw the run and a wonderful toe finish as he came in but everything was done to Messi.

“His movement, he shot Nathan Ake, stopped him, did it again and a reverse pass which is absolutely fantastic. A glossy finish.

Molina couldn't believe it

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Molina couldn’t believe it

And Messi loved it too

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And Messi loved it too


Not a bad time to score your first goal for your country!

Messi’s assist was followed by a second-half penalty, before a brace from Wout Weghorst saw the game go into extra time.

Virgil van Dijk’s fiery clash with Leandro Paredes saw the game teetering on the brink of violence but it cooled down before tempers resulted in red cards.

Weghorst surprised Argentina with a late brace

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Weghorst surprised Argentina with a late brace

But Argentina is finally victorious

But Argentina is finally victorious

And the clash went to penalties with the score at 2-2 at the end of 120 minutes.

Messi then netted his kick as Argentina won the shootout 4-3, sending them through to the semi-finals.

They will now face Croatia for a place in the World Cup final next weekend, following their penalty shootout win over Brazil.

talkSPORT World Cup 2022 coverage

talkSPORT brings you comprehensive coverage of the 2022 World Cup.

We broadcast all 64 matches of the tournament live, with over 600 hours of coverage on our network.

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