Argentina clinched a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands on Friday to claim a place in the World Cup semi-finals after initially squandering a two-goal lead in a late regulation-time collapse .
Lionel 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.
Messi provided a superb assist with a delicately threaded pass to defender Nahuel Molina that passed goalkeeper Andries Noppert to give Argentina a first-half lead. The Paris Saint-Germain striker added Argentina’s second in the 73rd minute with a well-taken penalty.
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Messi scored from the penalty spot 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.
Wout Weghorst headed in from 82 to recover one for the Netherlands to set up a tense end that repeatedly overflowed. The Netherlands were given one last lifeline with what appeared to be the last kick of the match when midfielder Teun Koopmeiners rose to fire a free kick on the edge of the box before slipping in a pass under the wall and to go home via Weghorst.
Enzo Fernandez hit the post towards the end of extra time and was the only Argentine player not to score in the shootout.
Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk and winger Steven Berghuis missed the team’s first two penalties, while Argentina converted their first three before Fernandez missed his fourth. However, Lautaro Martinez stepped up and headed home to secure a dramatic victory and set up a semi-final clash with Croatia on Tuesday.
The Netherlands’ loss eliminates them from the tournament and marks the end of head coach Louis van Gaal’s third term. The 71-year-old coach, who is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, had already made it clear before the tournament that this would be his last manager.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.