Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties in World Cup quarter-final epic

December 10, 2022

Argentina are into the World Cup semi-finals to face Croatia, beating Netherlands on penalties after a dramatic 2-2 draw in Qatar.

The remarkable game saw the Dutch score twice at the death to muster up extra-time, but it was for nothing in the end as the South American side went through on spot-kicks, with Emiliano Martinez starring in goal for Argentina.

There were not many chances for a good 70 minutes of this match, but Argentina had taken two of theirs by that stage and looked comfortable as the Dutch offered little in attack.

The opening goal was from an unlikely source as Nahuel Molina latched onto a sublime Lionel Messithrough ball to poke home his first international goal.

When Messi slotted home a penalty on 73 minutes it really looked like the game was over as Netherlands had barely troubled Emiliano Martinez in the Argentina goal, but they did make things very interesting in the dying moments.

Substitute Wout Weghorst nodded in a goal with seven minutes of normal time to go as Louis van Gaal sent on the big men and went route one to unsettle Argentina.

It worked, but it was a touch of invention that sent the game into extra-time as a free-kick just outside the Argentina box was not used for a shot at goal, but instead rolled into the feet of Weghorst in the box, who took a touch, spun and fired past Emi Martinez to equalise right at the death.

Extra-time saw Argentina recover and nearly win it, with Enzo Fernandez hitting the post, but the match reached penalties and they didn’t let it affect them, with Martinez emerging as the hero.

The Aston Villa goalkeeper saved the very first penalty, turning Virgil van Dijk’s effort round the post, then Messi immediately gave Argentina the advantage and Martinez was the star again, saving from Steven Berghuis. Lautaro Martinez eventually scoring the winning penalty after Fernandez missed.

There was also a new World Cup record set of 17 yellow cards given, with Antonio Lahoz having a bit of a chaotic night, although avoiding showing any reds.

Netherlands were desperate by this point and started going a lot more direct, with the introduction of target man Wout Weghorst paying off as he got on the scoresheet, nodding in a great cross from the right flank on 83 minutes.

There was just a touch of spice throughout the game and things got tense late on, with Leandro Paredes hoofing the ball at the Dutch bench after a tackle near them, causing the substitutes to rush the pitch. The referee calmed things down and Paredes was booked.

There was 10 minutes of stoppage time and Argentina were being bombarded with long balls by this stage, it was direct stuff, but a very clever bit of play sent the game to extra time.

Netherlands won a free-kick just outside the Argentinian box, with Steven Berghuis shaping up to shoot but he rolled the ball into Weghorst’s feet in the middle of the penalty area, who took a touch, turned and coolly finished past Martinez with almost the last kick of normal time.

The man on loan at Besiktas from Burnley had scored twice from two shots