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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Lionel Messi’s Argentina advance to World Cup semi-final after defeating Netherlands 4-3 on penalties (Video)

Lionel Messi and Emiliano Martinez shined as Argentina advanced to the semi-final of the ongoing FIFA World Cup after defeating Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout on Friday. 

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s two saves help Argentina edge the Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout and enter the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Lusail International Stadium.

Argentina captain Lionel Messi superbly set up Nahuel Molina for their first-half opener before converting a penalty kick to put his side on course to face Croatia for a place in the final.

But Wout Weghorst’s header 10 minutes later sparked his side into life and he then forced an additional thirty minutes when he scrambled the ball home with only seconds left.

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Weghorst halved the deficit five minutes after his introduction, heading home Berghuis’ inswinging cross, and landed another telling blow with virtually the last kick of normal time.

With everyone in the stadium expecting Teun Koopmeiners to go for goal with a free-kick 20-yards out, he instead slipped a clever ball through to Weghorst and he did the rest, sliding it past Emiliano Martinez.

A match that had seen regular flashpoints in the second half boiled over again after the final whistle with players from both sides embroiled in pushing and shoving.

Argentina pressed for a winner in extra-time but could not find a breakthrough, with Enzo Fernandez coming closest in the final minute with a 20-yard drive then crashed against the outside of the post.

Emiliano Martinez then took centre stage, saving the Netherlands’ first two efforts to put Argentina in control. Enzo Fernandez put his effort wide to increase the tension but Lautaro Martinez made no mistake, firing home to spark wild celebrations.

Watch the highlights of the match below;

Messi is an exceptional player

Simply superb. He might not dominate games like he did 10 years ago but he still delivers in the key moments.

He created the first with typical impish brilliance and held his nerve twice to slot away two penalties, including one in the shoot-out.

What’s next?

Argentine will play Croatia in the first semi-final on Tuesday, while the Netherlands will return home.

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