Argentina survives late night drama in Lusail: 'It's a lot of joy, a lot of relief'

Argentina set up a semifinal showdown with Croatia after beating the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties following a thrilling 2-2 overtime draw in a World Cup quarterfinal classic.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero in the shootout for the South Americans after Argentina squandered a Lionel Messi-engineered two-goal lead in the final minutes of normal time.

Dutch substitute Wout Weghorst scored two late goals -- the second from an inventive free-kick in the 11th minute of stoppage time -- as the Netherlands fought back with seven minutes of normal time remaining to force overtime.

Argentina looked poised for the last four after Messi conjured up a brilliant assist for Nahuel Molina and a clinical goal from the penalty spot.

"It's a lot of joy, a lot of relief," said Messi. "We didn't want extra-time or penalties. We suffered too much because of how everything happened, but it is the quarterfinals of a World Cup. We knew how to suffer when it was our turn, but we got through to the semifinals.  It's beautiful, something impressive."

For the Dutch it was a bitterly disappointing end to their tournament and they have now lost six of their last eight shootouts in major championships since 1992.

"We have been practicing penalties all year and despite everything we failed. It's a shame," said coach Louis van Gaal.  "As a coach, I want to have everything under control. That's why I asked the players to take penalties for their clubs, they all did. But if you miss two, you won't win. You just can't get over a streak like this."

The Lusail Stadium was turned into home for Argentina with the vast majority of the the 88,235 crowd backing the South American team and only a smattering of orange shirts in the crowd. But all were treated to a thrilling late-night drama that finally reached its conclusion just before 1 a.m. local time on Saturday.

After a cagey start, Messi produced a moment of inspiration, 10 minutes before the interval, to create the opener for his team.
Offering no clues of his intent, he split open the Dutch defense with a sublime reverse pass between Daley Blind and Virgil van Dijk into the path of Molina, who timed his run perfectly and slotted home with the outside of his foot.

Van Gaal responded at the break by making a double change, bringing Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis on into midfield in place of Bergwijn and Marten De Roon. But while the Dutch saw plenty of the ball their play remained too predictable and guileless.

Deservedly, the Argentines extended their lead in the 73rd minute after Denzel Dumfries tripped Marcos Acuna in the box and Messi made no mistake from the spot, burying the ball in the corner.

The Dutch, though, were not about to go out with a whimper -- pulling a goal back, seven minutes from the end, with an angled glancing header from Weghorst from a Berghuis cross from deep.

Ten minutes of added time raised Dutch hopes and - tempers with a couple of mass confrontations - and  they moved Van Dijk up front and pumped balls int the box. Deep into added time, one of those high balls, led to a free-kick just outside the area.

Koopmeiners feigned an expected shot before instead, to everyone's surprise, playing a short pass into Weghorst, who twisted past Enzo Fernandez and poked home the equalizer.

The wild celebrations over, the game went into extra-time and curiously became becalmed, only sparking back into life late in the second period. In a frantic final two minutes, Lautaro Martinez forced a diving save out of Noppert and Messi screwed a shot wide and only the post kept out a long-range drive from Fernandez.

After all that, it was penalties.

Martinez saved from Van Dijk and Berghuis to help Argentina into a 2-0 lead.

This time there was no way back for the Dutch as, even despite a miss from Fernandez, Argentina held on to win the shootout and head into the semifinals.


© Agence France-Presse

15 comments about "Argentina survives late night drama in Lusail: 'It's a lot of joy, a lot of relief'".
  1. frank schoon, December 10, 2022 at 9:32 a.m.

    I'm glad the Dutch are out. The 'school' of dutchmen who have been criticizing that the 'Dutch School' of soccer won't win, instead they need to shift their soccer to more of defensive ,counterattacking soccer have been proven wrong...We looked like crap playing a system that runs totally counter to the Dutch DNA of how soccer is played. Players like Frenkie de Jong, Klaasens, Bergwyn, Memphis,etc. looked so out of place in a system that is counterattacking soccer.

    When you're brought up to play in the opponent's half, and think ahead and prepare in case of ball loss transistion, it is where difficult to shift from that mind-set and don't forget the technical capabilities, the ,ess of' that is required in all its facets, with the emphasis placed on holding back, wait, and wait is not conducive to the Dutch way playing and thinking.

    The Dutch way of playing has to be seen of how they live combined along with their culture. Realize the Dutch are detailed oriented, they think in details of which Johan Cruyff is the symbol. Holland is a country that has to think everyday for it's survival vs the sea. Every road is connected to  protect from the see, dikes. Everyday little boats go through rivers, measuring water levels, to major rivers and other connecting variables protecting this country. We are a nation, that has to think ahead, prepare ahead, which explains why dutch soccer play is very pro-active in its application. 

    Because Holland is a very small country, they focus using space properly, which in soccer is finding space, shifting space , and creating space,  a dutch  concept that so many countries have copied from the dutch in soccer.
    In the last 50years, since the late 60's the dutch concepts of how to play soccer have had a major influence in how soccer is played today, world wide...That's why it is was said when the Germans had their great team in 2014WC that they were playing more dutch style soccer than the dutch themselve.

    When van Gaal decided to play defensive, counterattacking soccer, which I can understand why he did that, he did so thinking, naively, that is the way to win. What the dutch need to do is play to their strength ,improve on certain technical aspects of their game, but just don't throw the baby out with the bath water, like they did in this lousy world cup that seems to stress all the negative aspects of the game.....Can you imagine Croatia vs Morocco as the final. 

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, December 10, 2022 at 10:06 a.m.

    I think I had a Nightmare of Cr v Mor last Night.!!!
    Too bad for Holland ... I was Pulling for them from a Nostalgia sense.
    But, the Voetbal was pretty Atrocious.
    I think they were better Off, when they accepted that they were "Holland"and Not the Netherlands.???
    Kind of Like changing your Countries name from United States of America to being "The States" ... Direct have there Same Impact ...
    Maybe that was just an External View from a Tourist Aficionado.!?!?!?

  3. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2022 at 10:16 a.m.

    Atrocious???? that's a compliment to the garbage they played....

  4. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2022 at 10:27 a.m.

    Santi, While I'm on roll here, You know how bad these women color announcers are. Who writes the scripts for them to read. Do they delay the broadcast in order to aide the announcer's comments?...Even Landon Donovan doesn't contribute much, talk about a lack of creativity thinking, and talking about interesting nuggets about game, NOTHING...Clinton Dempsey has really dissapointed me as well about his on  game about reading the scripts...
    We should send  American announcers, like we do the players, to Europe for a couple of years . Holland would be a good place to start....

  5. Santiago 1314 replied, December 10, 2022 at 12:18 p.m.

    It's such a "Dummed" Down Presentation by Fox,  due to their Attempt to "Broaden" the Appeal to the "General" USA Market ... I usually watch the Spanish Channels. 

  6. Santiago 1314 replied, December 10, 2022 at 12:27 p.m.

    If they Really wanted to Help the USA fan, they should take some of those Yellow Hi-Lighters and draw some lines to Demonstrate how to Play your way thru a 4 or 5 man Low-Block, how a Forward  Checks back in between the Defensive lines so as to draw a Defender Out from the Back Line and then Slip a Pass into a Zone behind the Defense to a  Diagonal Runner....
    Maybe they could show that to Luis Enrique while they are at it.!?!?!?

  7. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2022 at 1:24 p.m.

    Santi, what is so funny is that they trying to impress you with coaching 'classroom' jargon to impress the guys at the local soccer 'half-space' ,'overload',etc... Yeah, I'm real impressed, LOL

  8. Frans Vischer replied, December 10, 2022 at 1:50 p.m.

    Frank and Santi,
    After yesterday's result, I can no longer be a Messi fan, and I will forever root for ANY team playing Argentina. The ref (and FIFA) is as much to blame, (Messi not getting a 2nd yellow for the blatant handball?!! Of course the ref would never kick him out, unless he was Dutch... and later no 2nd yellow for kicking the ball into the Dutch bench area?!! Argentina should have been down to 9 players!
    Remember 4 years ago, Argentina's atrocious behavior vs Croatia, Otamendi, (who played vs Holland yesterday,) kicked the ball into the face of a downed Croatian player and only get a yellow?!!! 
    And 1998, Simeone with his bs injury fake from Beckham. Argentina have a long history of winning at ALL costs. I won't get into the Hand of God...
    Messi should not have been on the field to take the pk, and Holland should have won.
    Not that they deserved to win. I agree with you both about Van Gaal's coaching. I didn't like Holland's play in 2014 either, under Van Gaal. A clearly superior Dutch team vs Mexico, playing ultra safe, concervative, boring football, with Robben finally goading that mf-ing Marquez into fouling him to get the winning pk...
    Okay, feeling much better getting that out of my system.

  9. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2022 at 2:15 p.m.

    Are you Ok, now Frans. You need to get a kroket and some Patat to calm you down. You know what I often watch and there are many of them is fietsen trips in Holland on calms me down. Try this one 
    Bicycle trip Zeist - Utrecht - Maarssen - Nw Loosdrecht - Holl. Rading - Lage Vuursche - Den Dolder - Google My Maps

    I totally agree with what you're saying......Argentina has always the reputation of this stuff, remember WC'78. Argentina is the reason we play the Toyota cup in Japan .They moved it to Japan because the Argentinians were nasty....

  10. Kevin Leahy, December 10, 2022 at 2:01 p.m.

    Frank, the thing I always enjoyed about the Dutch game was how, they took the game to their opponent. It was very disappointing how they played. Have to admit van Gaal's arrogance made me enjoy them losing. Coaches are ruining the game with these dour affairs. 

  11. frank schoon replied, December 10, 2022 at 2:24 p.m.

    You're right, Kevin but don't blame van Gaal's arrogance. Likewise I"m not a fan of him but I'll respect his knowledge, expertise of  the game which is known world wide. I don't mind arrogant people if they are good at what they do....A lot of people thought Trump to be arrogant ,well what he has accomplished as to compared to who is running the show now, sorry but I'll pick Trump anyday. 
    You would be surprised how well they thought of van Gaal at Bayern and Barcelona, when you hear them talk about van Gaal. He has changed Bayern into what it is now .

  12. Philip Carragher, December 11, 2022 at 1:13 p.m.

    I've just finished reading the last two editions of Soccernomics. Enjoyable and informative reads, and wonder how much data-soccer is now overwhelming the beautiful game. Is winning really that important? There are aspects to winning that are important and maybe it is time to unpack "winning" in order to make informed decisions on what's best. I used to coach a middle school team of boys and girls (co-ed soccer) that had both a regular season and playoffs. The regular season was for learning "how to play", teaching the kids the right way to play, not the kick and run they thought was good soccer; playoffs were for teaching "how to win", and players and parents were forewarned that maybe not everyone would play in the playoffs, or have playing time reduced, or play a different position. The main emphasis in "how to win" was how to prevent scoring by a superior opponent (park the bus), or how to finish. We'd have a few trick direct kick or corner kick plays and maybe other stuff I can't remember. For the most part, it worked well for teaching important skills and life lessons in a school setting.

  13. frank schoon replied, December 11, 2022 at 3:33 p.m.

    Philip, that was good what you did at the middle school. I do think the ultimate objective is to win, but it is how you win. Like the dutch, they like to win but they are very picky about how you play to win...Many coaches will yell at the players because they want to win but have no eye for the mechanics the 'beauty' of it...

    I don't mind losing as long as they are learning the nicer aspects ,especially the technical parts, and, educative part. As a kid playing street soccer, everyone wanted to show their abilities ,their wares first and winning became part of it, but first and foremost the kids need to appreciate the beauty of the game and the rest follows naturally.....So many coaches, don't understand the beauty of the game and see winning just as a goal

  14. Philip Carragher, December 11, 2022 at 1:27 p.m.

    I was very disappointed in the Dutch. Cruyff most be still be rolling over. Argentina wasn's so vastly superior that it required parking the bus or stiffling the creativity with data-driven defensive cynacism. Read SA's Tab Ramos interview and he explains where this new, boring style designed to take the game away from the truly gifted players and reduce it to a journeyman's snooze-fest came from. The French of all people. I thought they were a country insistent upon beauty.

  15. frank schoon replied, December 11, 2022 at 2:55 p.m.

    Philip, in Holland no one is happy in the way we played. But Argentina likewise played awful, they likewise played defensive, 5-3-2 as Holland did. As a matter of fact their coach copied van Gaal's tactics. The difference being is that they had someone called Messi, to make the difference. Both teams sucked and the Argentinian player unlike Messi are nothing to write home about.

    Holland did not have an offense, they had no wingers , their flank attack was lame.
    In the interview this morning a Dutch soccer journalist criticized Holland along with the coach van Gaal for playing lousy, marginal soccer beating meaningless  jokes like Qatar , Ecuador , Senegal. He further stated that Holland played lousy, garbage soccer against the USA, a country he sees who is just beginning learning where to place the air in the ball. He further stated beating the USA was nothing to write home about when playing lousy soccer yourself.

    It came down to saying Holland did the best they could with the players they had. Memphis, Gakpo, Bergwyn, the frontline did nothing this world cup. Against Argentina, Holland only played decent in those 12minutes where they scored 2 goals, that's it.

    France has lost their uniqueness to Turbo soccer, although the difference is that they have decent players but not like Zidane, David Ginola, etc....England should have won this....

    As far as I'm concerned, they can call the World Cup today, not even bother finishing the rest of the games for it is garbage...

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications