The Oranje of Netherlands have crashed out of the 2022 FIFA World Cup after Argentina defeated them with a 3-4 victory at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar. Messi leads the celebrations for La Albiceleste as they pull away with a 4-3 penalty victory over the Netherlands.
It’s been an astonishing night but it’s Argentina who progress to the semi-finals and they will take on Croatia.
They had the game won during normal time, only to see it slip away because of two Wout Weghorst goals in the dying minutes.
But they held their nerve in the shoot-out to get through and it’s despair for Holland and the end of Louis van Gaal’s coaching career.
Time for penalties
After 120 minutes, it is time for penalties to decide who will go into the World Cup semi-finals?
ET FT: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina
115 mins: The fans thought that was in!
Fernandez’s strike is deflected, looping dangerously but just lands on the roof of the net. That wasn’t far away at all.
Corner swung in, headed away. Netherlands are hanging on here.
Argentina make a substitution
Lisandro Martinez is brought off by Scaloni in favour off Angel di Maria.
The change was most likely made with a view to potential penalties being on the horizon.
And while all that is going on, the yellow card is shown to Acuna for a nasty challenge on Gakpo.
113 mins ET: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina
109 mins: Montiel now shown a yellow card – no idea what that was for.
Whatever happened, he’ll now be suspended for the semi-final if Argentina get through.
Messi tries to make something happen, cutting inside onto his left foot but he fires the effort high and wide.
Some more shots from the aftermath of that second Dutch goal…
Momentum shift for Dutch
With that late equalizer, there has been a noticeable change in body language amongst both sets of players.
Argentina will be looking to regroup and press on while the Dutch seem to have a spring in their step.
99 mins ET: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina
First half of extra time
The first half of extra time has kicked off.
It has been fascinating stuff so far and I suspect we should have some more twists ahead in this contest.
91 mins ET: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina
End of regulation time
What an unbelievable finish to the first 90 minutes as we head into extra time.
Everyone in the stadium expected Argentina to pull through, but it isn’t over till the fat lady sings, and the Dutch provided a timely reminder with that last gasp free kick.
Weghorst will be a very popular man back home as Argentina will need to regroup after that blow from the Netherlands for extra time.
End of normal time: Netherlands 2-2 Argentina
No mistake from Messi, who takes one step and smashes the ball beyond a rooted Noppert to make it 2-0.
GOAL! Netherlands 2-2 Argentina | Wout Weghorst 90+11’
THEY’VE DONE IT! ASTONISHING!
Free-kick is so clever, slipped through to Weghorst and on the stretch he manages to beat Martinez.
We’re going to extra-time!
KICK-OFF: Netherlands 1-2 Argentina
GOAL! Netherlands 1-2 Argentina | Wout Weghorst 83
AND OUT OF NOTHING THEY SCORE!
Ball just whipped in, Weghorst there at the near post and he flicks it into the far corner.
GOAL! Netherlands 0-2 Argentina | Lionel Messi 73′
MESSI DOUBLES THE LEAD!
His fourth goal of the World Cup, and it’s surely one that sends them into the semi-finals!
And this could seal it!
Molina chops inside in the box, Dumfries falls for it and brings him doen. VAR doesn’t need to bother looking at that.
Over to Messi…
65 mins: Blind off, De Jong on for the Netherlands. A bit more attacking ambition from Van Gaal.
Got to imagine that will be a back four now, with De Jong up front and Ake at left-back.
58 mins: Depay has been so poor tonight, giving the ball away pretty much on every occassion he comes to him.
Argentina slowing the pace of the match down when they win it back, ticking away the seconds. This has been a bit of a cruise for them so far.
HALF TIME: Netherlands 0-1 Argentina
44th min: Two bookings handed out in quick succession.
The first goes to Acuna for a poor challenge that sees him rake his studs down Dumfries’ Achilles tendon and the second to Timber for his reaction to the tackle.
Acuna will now miss the semifinal as a result of that caution.
GOAL! Netherlands 0-1 Argentina | Nahuel Molina 35′
STUNNING FROM ARGENTINA!
Messi makes this with a piece of pure genius. Picks it up in midfield, drops his shoulder and then picks out a sensational pass through to Molina.
He runs onto it, pokes the ball into the bottom corner. Brilliant goal.
Expecting some Messi magic
Every time Messi touches the ball near the Dutch half, most of those in the stadium get on their feet, expecting some magic, and the chants and clapping get louder.
The Dutch players are extremely alert to him, rushing in whenever the ball goes anywhere near him.
Nathan Ake, the Manchester City (and former Watford) defender, has spent most of the opening 25 minutes close to the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The view from the stands
Up in the stands, there is no contest over who’s making the most noise.
The White and Sky Blue are everywhere, with the rare sprinkle of Oranje.
La Albiceleste fans are making the most noise. They are up for it. The stadium is alive thanks to their chants.
Lionel Messi and his team-mates have put that opening defeat to Saudi Arabia behind them, and now find themselves three victories away from winning football’s biggest prize for the first time since 1986.
The Lionel Messi show descends on Lusail Stadium as Argentina face off against Netherlands to decide who will feature in the semi-final on December 13 against Croatia?
Netherlands have never lifted the World Cup. Argentina and Croatia stand between them and the final.