Argentina see off Netherlands in nailbiter: As it happened

Lionel Messi World Cup dream remains alive after dramatic penalty shoot-out win



Molina goal - Netherlands 0 Argentina 1

Messi goal - Netherlands 0 Argentina 2

Weghorst goal - Netherlands 1 Argentina 2

Weghorst goal - Netherlands 2 Argentina 2


Time for me to catch my breath. Feel free to scroll up to catch up on how this one unfolded. Footage and reaction will still come on this blog, while Gavin Cummiskey’s report is also on the way.

From me, have a good one and thanks for joining.


What a game. Argentina were home and hosed. They weren’t at their best, but a Messi magic assist and then a penalty had them two goals to the good.

At the death, they imploded. They failed to control possession, gave away needless fouls and fell victim to a clever set-piece equaliser.

In extra-time, Netherlands couldn’t keep their momentum going. They were hanging on by a thread, a van Dijk block and a Fernandez shot hitting the post saving them, but in the shootout, Martinez guessed right twice and that was enough for Argentina to go through.



Spare a thought for the Netherlands and Louis van Gaal. Aged 71, that’s his latest stint as their head coach done. Those in orange are in bits.


Argentina survive! They deserve to go through on the whole, but their implosion in normal time could so easily have cost them. It hasn’t. A pair of saves from Aston Villa man Emiliano Martinez has put them through to the semi-finals! The dream of winning a World Cup for Messi is still alive, and he goes straight to his goalkeeper to thank him.


Lautaro Martinez for the win. Noppert is in his face, trying to put him off and he gets a shove for his troubles. Messi can’t look... HE’S SCORED! ARGENTINA ARE THROUGH TO THE SEMI-FINALS


Luke de Jong still has to score to keep the Dutch in it. He slots it! We’re all square. Argentina have a kick to win it though...

Netherlands 3 Argentina 3


Fernandez nearly won it in extra-time when he hit the post. Can he win it here? HE CAN’T! He’s put the penalty wide!

Netherlands 2 Argentina 3


Weghorst was the hero, he scored two goals in normal time and has to score here... and he does. Martinez dives the wrong way.

Netherlands 2 Argentina 3


Montiel sends him the right way! Netherlands have to score now.

Netherlands 1 Argentina 3


Koopmeiners scores for Argentina! Martinez ends up rooted to the spot.

Netherlands 1 Argentina 2


Paredes for Argentina. Wow! What a penalty! Emphatically past the dive off Noppert into the bottom corner. Pure power.

Netherlands 0 Argentina 2


Berghuis for the Dutch. He’s missed! He goes the other way to van Dijk but Martinez guesses right again. Wow!

Netherlands 0 Argentina 1


Argentina are sending Messi up first! Wow, the big boys are up. He’s already scored a penalty today...and he’s scored another! He cooly sends Noppert the wrong way.

Netherlands 0 Argentina 1


Virgil van Dijk is up first for the Netherlands. He’s MISSED! Martinez guesses the right way and bats the ball away! A powerful strike but it was at a nice height to save.


Full time in extra-time: Netherlands 2 Argentina 2


Argentina were by far the better side in the extra 30 minutes. The Netherlands needed a fortuitous van Dijk block and the post to save them but they have fought their way to penalties. Argentina must be wondering how they. haven’t booked their ticket through yet.


120+1 mins: OFF THE POST! Fernandez has beaten Noppert with a gorgeous volley from outside the box but he’s denied by the woodwork. Based on this extra-time, Argentina deserve this one.


120 mins: CHANCE! Patient build up from Argentina opens up space for Messi but his strike from the edge of the box is deflected behind. From the corner, Di Maria nearly catches Noppert off guard as he has to punch away.


119 mins: Weghorst skips past one man on the counter, he has runners in the box but his cross is a poor one. SAVE! Down the other end, Martinez shoots from the edge of the area but Noppert is able to comfortably bat it away.


118 mins: Nervy from Martinez. He reads Lang’s cross into the box well but spills under pressure from Weghorst. No orange jersey was close enough to cash in.


116 mins: OVER THE BAR! Pezzella gets in front of his marker at a corner but can only send his powerful header over the bar. Relentless Argentina pressure at the moment.


116 mins: CHANCE! Fernandez again. He lets fly from outside the box and Weghorst’s deflection takes it just over the bar. Noppert was beaten in the Dutch goal.


115 mins: CHANCE! What a chance. Fernandez works the ball back for the shot, it’s heading for the bottom corner but it his van Dijk in the chest. He didn’t know a lot about it but he has kept the Netherlands in the tournament there.


113 mins: CHANCE! From the free, de Jong has two shots in the box blocked. He looks for a third but Aké pushed someone over, giving Argentina a relieving free-kick.


112 mins: Argentina are going all out. Di Maria is on for Martinez, a centre-back. It nearly costs Argentina as Gakpo drives at the heart of the defence but Pezzella dispossess him well. NO! The referee calls a foul, not sure about that one at all.


121 mins: Now Weghorst gives away a free on the counter. Another on a yellow who probably should see another, but the ref doesn’t want to take out his red.


120 mins: Messi tries to do it all himself with an off-balance shot from the edge of the box. Over the bar it sails, he had support to lay it off to but Messi isn’t going to do that at this stage.


119 mins: Noppert took a gamble of waiting for the ball to dribble into the box before picking it up but is forced to clearly in a rush under pressure. Argentina throw, from which they win a free. Montiel, just on for Argentina, is booked for asking for the Dutch lad to be booked. Madness.


116 mins: Back underway then and Argentina win an early corner. Messi sends it into a dangerous area but Noppert gathers well under pressure.



Half-time in extra-time: Netherlands 2 Argentina 2

Nothing to report in that first 15 minutes, neither ‘keeper called into action. Argentina have actually done well to calm themselves down after completely losing the rag at the end of normal time, controlling possession and looking the more likely to create something.


104 mins: CLOSE! Otamendi stretches at the back post to get on the end of a Messi free-kick but just can’t make contact. The goal was at his mercy if he did.


Someone is going to get a yellow card here. Everyone seems to be on a yellow but the challenges are still flying in left, right and centre. Now Timber, again, hauls Paredes down. A stupid challenge on a yellow but it doesn’t look like the ref has the unmentionables at this stage to send someone off.


Remember how Messi saw yellow earlier for dissent but didn’t get a card for his deliberate handball?


101 mins: There’s a collision between Timber and Messi right in front of the referee. Messi is making a meal of it but it was unintentional. Big decision here as the referee frog-marches towards him... no card. Timber was already on a yellow but he survives being sent off. Right call.


99 mins: Another Dutch free-kick in a dangerous position. Aké sets up the break with his work in defence and it ends with an Otamendi foul on de Jong. Not much in it but it’s another set-piece close to the box. Berghuis sends it in but Argentina clear.


95 mins: Gakpo launches a ball into the box that worries Martinez just for a second. Berghuis was hunting as it just about squeezes over the bar.


94 mins: Argentina looked to have calmed down. Messi picks out Tagliafico who sets up a half-chance inside the box. Aké gets a touch to deflect it safely to Noppert. Paredes cuts through the back of Paredes ruthlessly. Already on a yellow card, he’s lucky not to be off the pitch for that.


91 mins: Here we go then. Extra-time once again, all the momentum with the Dutch and Argentina have lost the plot. God knows what’s going to happen over the next 30 minutes.



Supersub Weghorst. Yellow before he even came on, then a magic double to rescue his side.


Just to show how much this match has descended into chaos in terms of player behaviour.


Full-time Netherlands 2 Argentina 2

Argentina have lost the plot. Their coaches and subs have swarmed the referee as soon as the final whistle went. This game is bonkers and Argentinian heads have well and truly gone.



THEY’VE DONE IT! In the 101st minute, a clever free-kick routine has equalised and it’s that man Weghorst yet again. Instead of shooting from the free-kick, they go short to Weghorst who holds off his marker and slots it into the far corner. What a call to go with the trick play and the bravery has paid off!


90+10 mins: Netherlands fee-kick on the edge of the box! Paredes bundles into the back of his man, gifting a dangerous set-piece when Argentina looked likely to clear the ball anyway. Discipline gone out the window. Messi sees yellow for dissent.


90+8 mins: Shocking decision. Paredes takes a tumble on the counter after a good tackle from Berghuis but the referee gives a foul. No contact at all. That said, it was that man Messi who tracked back to win the ball and set the counter up.


90+7 mins: That’s very ordinary from de Jong. He gets on the end of a header inside the Argentinian box but can neither find a teammate but steer it goalwards. Out of play it goes.


90+6 mins: That’s a massive header clear by Otamendi. He’s back-pedalling and leading back but he beats Luke de Jong to it after a briliant ball in from Gakpo. He needed to make that clearance.


Now van Dijk sees yellow for complaining about Argentinian time-wasting. Anyway, while we wait, here is that Weghorst goal that made the end game of this one so interesting.


90+3 mins: Weghorst has a rocket of a right boot but he’s sent the free-kick into the wall. Now Martinez and Otamendi have clashed heads, leading to another stoppage.


90+1 mins: Otamendi lashes out in the air and catches Gakpo. Free-kick for the Netherlands right on the edge of the box. This is dangerous.


90 mins: Berghuis whips in the resulting free-kick. Dumphries stretches to keep it in play but can’t do so. Scaloni on the edge of the Argentinian technical area now sees yellow. Safe to say the referee lost control of this one long ago. Given all the mayhem we have 10 minutes of additional time.


89 mins: There’s a proper coming together now. Paredes gives away a foul and launches the ball into the Dutch substitutes in frustration. They don’t like that and surround Paredes, while van Dijk comes from miles away and floors him with his chest. Could be plenty of cards here.

Paredes sees yellow for the initial foul on Aké, that’s fair enough, but how van Dijk or none of the Dutch subs have gotten away with that is baffling.


88 mins: Berghuis sees yellow for blocking off Messi. Harsh, Messi had lost control of the ball and had no hope of continuing in possession.


85 mins: SIDE-NETTING! Wow, a lot of people in the ground thought that was in. Van Dijk is up in the box and he wins the ball in the air, teeing it up for Berghuis. He lets fly with a thunderous effort that canons into the side-netting. Didn’t look like it took a touch but a corner is given.



He’s only just on the pitch but the replacement has set up the end of this game very nicely. It’s a cracking ball into the box and Weghorst gets past his marker far too easily, sending a powerful header into the bottom corner past Martinez. Surely the comeback isn’t on?


Here is the earlier penalty and Messi strike that looks to have sent Argentina through.


Another change. Lautaro Martinez replaces Alvarez.


81 mins: Argentina have a chance to wrap it up on the counter but Alvarez sees his cross in the box blocked. He could have squared it earlier to a flood of blue jerseys coming into the area.


Changes for both sides. For Argentina, Acuna and Romero are replaced by Tagliafico and Pezzela. Netherlands are taking off Depay in place of Weghorst who remember, already has a yellow for his dissent from the bench.


77 mins: Now Gakpo goes down in the box, but his muted appeal is quickly turned down. The Dutch still look incapable of creating anything of note going forward.


75 mins: It’s kicking off now. Frenkie de Jong launches a ball into the box for his namesake, Martinez comes to claim over him and stares him down afterwards. De Jong doesn’t like it as some verbal jousting breaks out. To make matters worse, a streaker comes on to the pitch. It’s all happening.



Noppert is left rooted to the spot as Messi nonchalantly slots it home to the ‘keeper’s left.


72 mins: PENALTY ARGENTINA! Acuna does Dumphries with the turn on the inside, leading to a clip on the ankle. The Dutch aren’t happy, they don’t think there’s contact but there is a slight touch. Messi will have a chance to put the game to bed.


68 mins: Frenki de Jong goes on a windy run down the right but fails to link up with Depay. He’s been quiet tonightm de Jong. Netherlands need him to come into this game more.


Argentina’s turn to make a change. De Paul leaves the field, Paredes enters the fray.


Luke de Jong is on in place of Blind. He’ll go up front and Gakpo will go out to the left.


63 mins: CLOSE! Messi hits the free-kick and sends it into the side-netting. That wasn’t far away at all.


61 mins: Messi is taking this game over now. He dribbles past van Dijk and then is pushed over by the Liverpool man, winning a free-kick on the edge of the area.


60 mins: Wasteful from Argentina. Messi feeds it forward into space to Mac Allister in acres of space. He draws another defender to feed De Paul but he lets the ball run on too long, killing what should have been a chance to hit the target. Brilliant from Messi to start it all off, poor from those ahead of him.


55 mins: Messi is very lucky to avoid yellow. Aké wins the ball in a slide tackle, prompting Messi to slap it away with his hand in frustration. How he doesn’t see a yellow card is beyond me.


52 mins: Mac Allister does very well to shrug off two would-be tacklers to keep possession in midfield. He’s looking to counter quickly but ultimately is forced to hold it up and wait for his support.


48 mins: Messi’s corner gets a flick on at the near post but no one is able to follow up inside the box. Bright start to the second half from Argentina.


46 mins: Back underway then. An early foul gifts Argentina possession as they start knocking it around the back.


Two changes for the Dutch at half-time. Bergwijn and de Roon are gone, Berghuis and Koopmeiners are on.




Half-time: Netherlands 0 Argentina 1

Messi’s assist and Molina’s strike separates the sides at half-time. The Dutch have dominated possession and looked more incisive through midfield, but the one major chance of repute has fallen the way of Argentina.

Brilliant run and ball from Messi, as you’ll see below, while Molina did well to keep the ball out from under his feet for the finish.

As things stand, Messi’s World Cup dream will go to the semi-finals.


Now Weghorst on the Dutch bench gets a card for shouting something from the sidelines. This is bizarre.


Five minutes added time to be played. With the goal and the amount of stoppages for cards, that’s no surprise.


45 mins: Now Romero sees his name taken. He just bats the ball away with his hand to stop Depay from breaking down the left. Another daft foul.


43 mins: Yellow card for Timber. He pushes over Acuna after being fouled by him. Silly really. Acuna also sees yello for clipping at his heels - that will rule him out of the semi-final if Argentina qualify.


39 mins: SAVE! Another easy one for Noppert. Alvarez feeds Messi on the edge of the box. Orange jerseys swarm around him but he manages to get a shot away, albeit it’s straight at the ‘keeper.


35 mins: Stop that Messi. He dribbles past two defenders, turns Aké inside out before passing across his body to send Molina in on goal. What a pass, what a touch from Molina before poking it past Noppert. Against the run of play perhaps, but Argentina are ahead.




33 mins: SAVE! But it’s straight at Noppert. Mac Allister took a touch and fired from the edge of the box after Messi laid it off, but it was a weak effort straight at the ‘keeper.


29 mins: Excellent defending from Romero and it needed to be, his header vital in clearing a dangerous ball in from Gakpo. Netherlands continue to look the stronger side.


24 mins: That’s excellent build-up from the Dutch. Bergwijn and Depay link beautifully with some one-touch football, opening up a shot for Bergwijn. He lets fly from the edge of the box but it’s well wide.


21 mins: Netherlands are still struggling to create anything of note. They’re dominating possession in the last few minutes but a poor cross is all they have to show for it. Down the other end, Messi opens up space for a shot from 25 yards out only to blaze over.


16 mins: Netherlands’ best foray forward so far. Dumphries gets on the end of a cross that was destined for row z, doing well to keep it in play. He hooks it back across goal where Blind looks to get on the end of it but Argentina manage to clear.


13 mins: Mac Allister runs a good line in behind to work a cross but it’s over everyone’s head. De Paul then crosses from the other flank but it’s an easy catch for Noppert in the Dutch goal.


11 mins: Not sure what Acuna was doing there. After good work from Messi to pick him out, his attempted cross is like a rocket, badly overhit as it sails through the box, absolutely nowhere near a fellow blue jersey.


9 mins: Nearly chances at both ends. First of all Alvarez nearly intercepts a pass in the Dutch box while up the other end, Depay almost feeds Gakpo in on goal with a deft touch. Both sides are starting to settle.


5 mins: First shot of the game comes from Argentina. They win the ball high up the pitch, working a chance for De Paul on the edge of the area. Gakpo has tracked back and gets his body in the way.


4 mins: A bizarre incident forces the referee to stop the game. Miles away from the ball, Gakpo ad Fernandez clash and both hit the deck.


1 min: We are underway! Netherlands kick things off through Depay. Donabate’s own Alexis Mac Allister is caught early for a foul as Argentina can get out of their own half.


Anthems are done and we are minutes away from kick-off. There are a lot of Argentinians in Lusail, safe to say to they made themselves heard.



Right then. Gakpo, van Dijk and co vs Messi, Alvarez and Mac Allister. Who you backing?


Meanwhile, the build-up to this game saw Dutch boss Louis van Gaal bizarrely try to kiss his striker Memphis Depay. The exchange started because a journalist asked van Gaal his response to Argentina’s Angel Dí Maria, who van Gaal coached at Manchester United, was the worst manager he worked with.

Here’s soccer correspondent Gavin Cummiskey:

“Di Maria is a really good football player,” said van Gaal, visibly unmoved. “At the time when he played for Man United he had a lot of personal issues. There was a break-in at his house.”

In 2015, di Maria and his young family were eating dinner in their Cheshire home when three burglars entered the premises.

“That also affected his form that year,” van Gaal continued, taking no prisoners at a confrontational eve-of-quarter-final briefing. “That he referred to me as the worst trainer is a pity because usually it is the other way around. Memphis also played for me at Man Utd and now we kiss each other on the lips.”

Van Gaal attempted to peck Memphis Depay (28) but the Barcelona striker turned the other cheek. Half the auditorium exploded in laughter, the other half raise hands, silently demanding an opportunity to halt the comedy sketch.


Here’s some pre-match reading. First up, our man Gavin Cummiskey is in Qatar and he looks at Alexis Mac Allister, the Argentinian revelation who looks like an Irish lad. Turns out, there’s a great, great, great-grandad in there somewhere.


Here’s how Argentina will line out. Lisandro Martínez comes in for Alejandro Gomez as they too make one change to the side that was victorious in the last-16.


First things first, here are the two teams. Gakpo has been the star of the tournament so far for the Dutch, and he sits in behind the two strikers Depay and Bergwijn, who is in for Klaasen in the only change from the team that beat the USA.


Hello all! After the drama of the Brazil game, where Neymar was sent packing, are we about to witness another superstar’s last World Cup act? Can Lionel Messi keep his World Cup dream alive?

We’ll shortly find out. Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side stands in his way in the day’s second quarter-final.