With just 6 World Cup games between them, Argentina against Netherlands is a match with a rich history at the stage. The two sides’ most memorable matchup was at the controversial 1978 World Cup, in which the hosts, Argentina, won 3-1. Before Qatar, they had last faced off in Brazil in 2014, where Argentina won 4-2 on penalties. If you want to know about Is Lionel Scaloni The Coach Messi and Argentina Have Always Needed, click here.
Credits: Al Jazeera
The semi-final match between Netherlands and Argentina in Qatar was nothing short of thrilling. Both teams were well-balanced, with each with several exceptional players. Assisted by Messi, Nahuel Molina opened the scoring for the South American side in the 35th minute, and Argentina went into the break ahead.
Messi converted a penalty for Argentina in the 73rd minute in the second half, taking his goals tally at the World Cup to four.
Wout Weghorst, who plays for Besiktas, scored the first for Netherlands, giving them a fighting chance; the Dutch took it and launched a series of attacks on Argentina. Wout came big for his country, scoring a clever equalizer in the last minute of added time.
The Oranje’s late comeback and the two goals from Wout Weghorst seemed to have swung momentum in their favor, but they failed to find another in the half-hour extra time. As a result, the tie had to be inevitably broken in a penalty shootout which Argentina won.
The South American side has now won the most penalty shootouts in World Cup history, 5 wins from 6 to be precise. On the other side, the Dutch are currently second to only Spain in World Cup penalty shootouts lost.
Last year in the Copa America semi-finals against Colombia, the eventual champions Argentina were on the verge of elimination; thanks to Emiliano Martinez, they won 3-2. Resorting to unconventional means, Emi employed trash talk against Colombia’s most lethal penalty-takers. As Colombia’s players got ready to take their kicks, the 30-year-old Martinez confronted them, intending to evoke intimidation. This worked in his favor as he ended up stopping shots from Davinson Sanchez, Yerry Mina, and Edwin Cardona to give Argentina victory.
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In their matchup against Netherlands, Emi once more brought the same energy. The goalie, who had conceded twice in the match’s final periods, made two crucial saves in the shootouts securing a semi-finals spot against Croatia. Argentina has now progressed from a World Cup quarter-final for the fourth time. They reached the final in the previous three instances in 1986, 1990, and 2014.
In the past, Argentina has barely been known for their goalkeepers compared to forwards. However, Emiliano Martinez showed that they can count on him if a game goes down to the wire.