Argentina eliminate Netherlands on penalties, advance to semifinals
Despite a Dutch comeback to send it to extra time, Argentina defeats Netherlands on penalties, topping off another wild day in the World Cup.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
The 2022 World Cup has been an emotional rollercoaster filled with heartbreak and much joy, depending on what nation you represent. Tonight’s Argentina vs. Netherlands quarter final matchup was one of the crazier games of the tournament.
Argentina took a lead shortly after the half-hour mark off a Lionel Messi world class assist. King Leo doubled their advantage with a penalty in the 73rd minute. Then the Dutch came roaring back, scoring two goals with less than eight minutes left in regular time — the equalizer coming in the final seconds of stoppage time.
After another half-hour of extra time, the game went to penalties where the Dutch missed two crucial shots and Lautaro Martinez delivered the game winning penalty to send Argentina to the semifinals vs. a tough Croatian side.
Argentina and their almost 40,000 fans at the tournament were buzzing after Croatia eliminated Brazil earlier today, Friday Dec. 9, on penalties. Rodrygo and Marquinhos two penalty misses as Croatia went through for their second consecutive semi finals appearance at a World Cup — they made it to the final in 2018, but lost to France.
With their South American rivals out of the competition, Messi and Argentina came into the game much happier, but knew they faced a tough test against Louis van Gaal’s well-drilled side.
In the 34th minute, Messi was dribbling down the Dutch’s defense, attracting three defenders then delivered a beautiful through ball to Nahuel Molina who finished it off.
Things got worse for the Dutch as Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuña in the box, giving the Argentines a shot to double their advantage. Messi, who had missed a penalty earlier in the tournament vs. Poland did not mess up this opportunity and doubled their lead.
Netherlands were going nowhere fast after going two goals down, but then six-foot-six Wout Weghorst got his head on the ball and revived the Dutch. With momentum on their side, they began to throw everything they had at the Argentines, delivering balls into the box, and trying to find the through lanes anywhere they could.
Despite the loss that would come in penalties, Weghorst delivered one of the great World Cup moments in the final seconds of stoppage time. Argentina midfielder Paredes gave up a free kick just outside the box.
The Netherlands kept calm and instead of opting for a kick on goal, they took a move from the training ground and it was Weghorst who found the back of the net after a clever through ball that caught the Argentines off guard.
After an excruciating 30 minutes of extra time, the game went to penalties where Messi surely felt the weight of the nation on his back after giving up a two goal lead with less than 10 minutes to go. Surely, they could not afford to mess this up — and they would not.
The Dutch missed two crucial penalties and Argentina were able to take advantage — only missing one — and were able to put away the Dutch to move one step closer to redemption of capturing the World Cup title after losing it to the Germans back in 2014.
Messi was ecstatic and happy to be advancing, almost as if a huge weight had come off his shoulder, for now. The work still continues for the Argentines as they take on a veteran and physical Croatian side led by Luka Modric, next Tuesday, Dec. 13.