Football World Cup: Lionel Messi leads Argentina into Semifinals, beats Netherlands on Penalties
Lionel Messi’s magic continues as Argentina beat the Netherlands on penalties in the FIFA 2022 quarterfinal. Much like the first quarterfinal between Brazil and Croatia, Argentina’s clash with the Netherlands too became one of the most dramatic and riveting games to watch.
The much-anticipated battle came posing a big question to the quarterfinals being Messi’s last dance. However, the 35 year old let his feet do the talking as he led the team to the Semifinals with an assist and a goal against the Netherlands.
Argentina’s attack led by Lionel Messi was missing a key component as star midfielder and attacker Angel Di Maria wasn’t up selection owing to his injury. However, despite the absence of Di Maria, his replacement Nahuel Molina filled the big shoes as he converted the beautifully picked pass by Lionel Messi into a goal in the 35th minute.
The Dutch side, after being stunned by the Argentinian goal, failed to come up with a reply whereas Argentina added to their tally in the second half. Van Dijk and company conceded a penalty in the 73rd minute, inviting Lionel Messi to leave his mark.
However, after taking off a few attacking players and adding some traditional strikers, the Dutch side changed the look of the game and found a goal with help of super sub-Wout Weghorst which kept the dutch hopeful for an equalizer. The ending minutes transitioned the Van Dijk and company from being a resigned Dutch to becoming an electrified Dutch. The new hopeful look led to the Argentinians panicking and letting the game slip away from them.
The super sub, emerged as a hero for Van Dijk and company as Wout Weghorst, subsequently, after the first goal, asserted himself again for the team by scoring in the closing minutes of the game. Werghorst’s goal revived the Dutch by converting a genius set-piece pass into a goal.
The extra time period couldn’t come to a conclusive end which further progressed the game into penalties for which both the team captains stepped up to start off. Netherlands captain Van Dijk stepped up to take the first penalty, however, was denied by the Argentinian goalkeeper. Whereas, Lionel Messi continued to outperform everyone on the field as he converted his. The Argentinian goalkeeper saved 2 penalties from the Dutch penalty takers, while the Argentinians converted theirs which led to Argentina’s win with a scoreline of 4-3.
Lionel Messi and Company will now face Croatia in the Semi-Finals.