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Messi and Argentina edge the Netherlands in thrilling penalty shootout to advance to World Cup semi-finals


Lionel Messi’s quest to win the World Cup advances to the semi-finals after Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout on Friday.

Messi converted his penalty in the shootout and Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez saved two attempts. Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive penalty.

The game ended 2-2 after extra time, with Messi scoring one goal and setting up another. The Netherlands equalized in the 11th minute of added time in the second half.

Netherlands v Argentina: Quarter-Final - 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar
Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates after Argentina’s Lautro Martinez scored the winning penalty during the penalty shootout during Qatar’s World Cup quarter-final match against the Netherlands at Lusail stadium on December 9 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.

Getty Images

Argentina will face Croatia in the semi-finals on Tuesday. Croatia, vice-world champion 2018, also defeated Brazil’s favorite in a penalty shootout earlier on Friday.

It’s only the second time Argentina have reached the last four since 1990. In 2014, Messi was part of the team that lost to Germany in the final.

He looks like he’s in the mood to get back there in a tournament he’s turning into his own highlight.

When Lautaro Martinez’s penalty hit the net, Messi didn’t head towards the striker – unlike the rest of the team – but sprinted towards his goalkeeper and jumped into his arms.

Messi had produced fascinating skill to set up Nahuel Molina’s opener in the 35th minute, then converted a penalty in the 73rd to make it 2-0 with his fourth goal of this year’s World Cup.

That took him to 10 World Cup goals, tied with Gabriel Batistuta for the most for Argentina, and 94 total goals in 169 international appearances.

The match was extended after a deep goal in second-half stoppage time from Wout Weghorst, who came on as a substitute in the 78th minute and made it 2-1 five minutes later.

It was the last goal scored in the second half in a knockout tie at a World Cup and was cleverly worked on, with Teun Koopmeiners feigning to loop a free kick into the box to play it short and deceive the defense Argentina. Weghorst took a touch, held his marker and scored home a finish on the stretch.

The match featured 17 yellow cards, including one for Messi, who had blood coming from his upper lip at one point.

Enzo Fernandes hit the post near the end of extra time and was the only Argentine player not to score in the shootout.

The defeat ended the third term of Louis van Gaal, 71, as head of the Netherlands.


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