Argentina beat Netherlands in Qatar 2022’s wildest win.
Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to get to the World Cup semifinals.
Lionel Scaloni’s side went 2-0 ahead courtesy to two Messi goals. He set up Nahuel Molina’s opener and scored a penalty.
Wout Weghorst scored an 83rd-minute header and 90+11th-minute free-kick equaliser for the Dutch. Extra time was tough, but Martinez helped the Albiceleste win on penalties.
1. Argentina win Qatar 2022’s wildest game ever
In a World Cup of upsets, stunning results, and penalty shootout heroics, this seemed uncomplicated until injury time. Messi’s reverse pass sparked a crazy first half. With one flick, he dispossessed four Dutch defenders and found Molina, who side-footed it past Andries Noppert.
When Messi scored another penalty, Argentina seemed safe.
The final 15 minutes were Dutch magnificence. Weghorst’s header beat Martinez with seven minutes left in normal time, and his second was one of the best set pieces in World Cup history. Dutch pressure tore up scripts and rewrote match reports.
Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz had already lost control of the play, thus a second melee ended normal time. Leandro Paredes threw a ball into the Dutch dugout after committing a foul, sparking a push-and-shove match.
Lahoz showed little to no consistency in his calls, issuing 17 yellow cards but no red. Messi’s 55th-minute handball missed, and he became the centre of attention.
Argentina eventually won and reached the semifinals.
2. Van Gaal’s tactical twists continue.
The Dutch have been harsh on Louis van Gaal during the World Cup. He’s aware of the criticism of his game plan for the Dutch in Qatar — he’s asked about it almost every news conference — but he’s unrepentant about his tactics, footballing philosophy, and how he wants his team to play. Self-confidence has helped him over a 36-year career.
Van Gaal believed when the Netherlands were down 2-0. At half-time, a snapshot of a “Plan B” document on Van Gaal’s chair went viral on social media. Luuk de Jong and Weghorst led a 3-2-3-2 formation. Van Gaal had a plan for the match’s dying minutes if they were chasing a goal.
The intended shift worked perfectly. They had the match-tying set piece that allowed Weghorst to score late.
Van Gaal showed why he’s one of contemporary football’s finest managers, despite losing on penalties. He’s not everyone’s taste, but he’s done well in Qatar, and you hope this isn’t the last we see of him.
3. Argentina almost loses again
This appeared to be Argentina’s lucky day. They had handled the game beautifully, but they’ve let go of it twice in as many games.
They won over Australia courtesy to Lisandro Martinez’s last-gasp defence. Weghorst’s double forced extra time and penalties.
They shouldn’t have let the Netherlands back in. Their 3-5-2 structure had worked effectively, but they lost focus and discipline, and their opponents pounced. Scaloni’s team’s game management in the last moments must be analysed. They were warned about Australia but ignored it. Poorly-timed substitutions hampered his team’s tempo.
Player ratings (1-10).
Andries Noppert, Virgil van Dijk, Jurrien Timber, Nathan Ake, Denzel Dumfries, Daley Blind, Frenkie de Jong, Marten de Roon, Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn 5
Wout Weghorst replaces Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis.
Lionel Messi, Emiliano Martinez, Lisandro Martinez, Nicolas Otamendi, Cristian Romero, Marcos Acuna, Nahuel Molina, Enzo Fernandez, Alexis Mac Allister, Rodrigo De Paul, Julian Alvarez, 6
German Pezzella, Leandro Paredes, Nicolas Tagliafico, Lautaro Martinez
Messi, Argentina. Star again. Argentina’s skipper did it again.
Steven Bergwijn, Netherlands. Ajax’s attacker struggled and was replaced at halftime.
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