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World Cup Rewind: Argentina, Croatia advance in shootout victories


Argentina’s World Cup rematch with the Netherlands witnessed the South American side being pegged back twice in a thrilling affair. It also featured Lionel Messi and his teammates advance into the semifinals following a shootout victory over Louis Van Gaal’s squad.

Lionel Scaloni’s side edged the Dutch 4-3 in a shootout after two late goals from Wout Weghorst allowed the Netherlands to force extra time. Argentina will now meet Croatia in the semifinal round.

Argentina struck first as Messi’s no-look assist was finished off by Nahuel Molina’s first World Cup goal. Molina raced onto Messi’s pass before edging Daley Blind and rifling home past Andries Noppert for a 1-0 lead.

Messi scored his fourth goal of the tournament in the 73rd minute after Marcos Acuna was fouled by Denzel Dumfries in the box, allowing Argentina to double its lead. Messi stepped up and left Noppert flatfooted to extend La Albiceleste’s advantage.

The Netherlands did not lie down though as Weghorst’s flicked header from a Steven Berghuis’ cross cut their deficit to 2-1. Emiliano Martinez had no chance was the Besiktas’ forward celebrated his first goal of the competition.

With the match on the line, Weghorst called his own number in the 11th minute of stoppage time to force extra time. Teun Koopmeiners rolled a pass next to the wall on a free kick, allowing Weghorst to take a touch before rifling home.

Argentina’s last chance in extra time almost went its way as Enzo Fernandez’s shot rattled the post, leading to penalty kicks.

Martinez stood firm in net, denying both Virgil Van Dijk and Berghuis before watching his offensive teammates settle the score. Despite Fernandez shooting wide of Noppert’s post, Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive penalty kick as Argentina marched on.

Croatia 1, Brazil 1 – (Croatia advances 4-2 on penalty kicks)

(Bruno Petkovic 117′) – (Neymar 105+1′)

Croatia sealed its return to the semifinals in dramatic style, edging tournament favorites Brazil 4-2 on penalty kicks after the European side fought back and tied the match with a 117th minute equalizer.

Bruno Petkovic cancelled out Neymar’s opening goal before Dominik Livakovic denied Rodrygo from the penalty spot. Marquinhos’ decisive penalty kick struck the left post as Zlatko Dailc’s squad moved on to face La Albiceleste in the final four.

Livakovic stole the show in regular time, making six saves to deny the Brazilians from finding a winning goal. His reaction save on Joško Gvardio’s deflected clearance kept the Croatians level before he also repelled Richarlison and Antony’s later efforts in the second half.

Neymar tied Pele for the all-time goalscoring lead in Brazil’s history after playing a 1-2 with Lucas Paqueta inside the Croatia box. The PSG star then powered past Livakovic before rifling into the roof of the net.

Croatia fought back in the dying moments of extra time as Mislav Orsic’s cross was met by Petkovic before the veteran forward benefitted as Marquinhos’ deflection left Alisson to watch the ball go into the net.

Rodrygo’s costly miss propelled Croatia in front during the shootout before Marquinhos watched in disbelief as his shot attempt struck the left post and came out.


  1. Everyone talks about how young the US is, but France is has a lot of young players too. This French team is just going to reload after this tournament. The amount of talent coming out of France is crazy.

  2. Dual national panic. Argentina u-20’s called up Ben Cremaschi from inter Miami for their latest camp. Highly talented 17 year old attacking midfielder. He was one of the US u19’s best players at the Slovenia nations cup a few months ago.

    This is going to become more frequent.

  3. I mean these teams know what Morocco is about. How about teams adjust to that and say hey here Morocco have some of the possession, so you can get transition moments your selves. Why I think France will win again. Deschamps understands that France needs transition moments, hence why France doesn’t need to have 60 plus percent possession in every game.

    • people pretended like the new way would be soccer players better at dribbling, tricks and flicks, and shooting, and we got bait and switched for a tentative sideways passing offense. reyna, the epitome of the dynamic player we said we would create, couldn’t get on the field in our nervous tactics that have half an eye on playing defense. we play fart around soccer like a team sitting on a lead. the defensive pressing ideas then to me are naive and exhaust our players in 45-60′. so you can say we have adopted european ideas but not particularly good ones.

      one of the subtleties beneath the plateau is if we want to progress we need to be the sort of team that gets in the first drawing pot and wins its group, then your crossover 16 match is easier. if you squeak out second you get holland or belgium all the time, a group winner.

      i actually agree with the snobs that our elevation will parallel tactics and a more skilled player, i just don’t think passing sideways slowly is very scary or reflects that much technical improvement. argentina’s goals yesterday began from taking people on. holland had a creative free kick idea that we would never try (though i did once in men’s league and some chubby guy receiving it fluffed his trap). to me the US players seem almost scared to try things and go to goal which i thought was opposite of the diagnosis of how this needed to progress for us to go deeper or win. i’d swear what i heard at the time was we needed kids NOT to feel like they had to pass every time but to work on their footwork and take some people on once in a while. you don’t make messis and ronaldos telling them to give it up early and make the next short pass.

      when we figure out this needs to be loosened up not tightened down — at least on offense — it’ll accelerate. defense is where we need to just get back and win balls organized.

    • I mean, maybe, but the whole reason Qatar invested so much in the World Cup was optics and ego, and killing a US journalist in Qatar would end up being the story of the tournament, would utterly destroy any goodwill and positive pub they might have received from hosting the tournament to begin with and leave the global perception of Qatar stinking worse than a salmon cannery. That’d be really, really dumb.

      Also, you can see the pic of Wahl wearing that shirt that spurred all the controversy to begin with…he did not look well there, and he’d been noting from almost the moment he landed that he wasn’t feeling well and was trying to work through it because, well, business. To me that makes foul play unlikely, because it would mean they poisoned him (I’m guessing that’s what his brother is insinuating) BEFORE he did the thing Wahl’s brother is alleging they killed him for.

      We’ll see if they release the body. If they play games with that, they probably did do something, otherwise my suspicion is he’ll turn out to have had some kind of infection or illness, and that strikes me as more likely.,d_placeholder_euli9k,h_807,w_1435,x_25,y_0/dpr_2.0/c_limit,w_740/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1670640535/Grant-Wahl-rainbow-shirt_o3ixig

      • hey q, hope you are right of course

        I believe Eric when he says his brother received death threats tho, and we’ll see

    • to me what seems to work is either knock it wide and get up the field in a hurry, or the really high tempo wall-pass kind of stuff. the teams that do knock it around tend to do it at ping pong tempo. the speed of play has accelerated. i feel like the teams like germany and us who want to slowly work it around are not frightening at all. as a defender that is too predictable especially if the endgame is some sort of obvious cross into the box. i also feel like in the decade our stale ideas have been around various pressing or midfield swarming/counter ideas have grown to thwart it.

      we need to loosen the reins and be a faster, more direct, more creative attack. we then need to decide if we want to be a high scoring risk taking team or a shutout defense team. this leaned defense this tournament but was undermined by the formation, CB injuries, and wingback choices. wingback in particular they need to decide are we trying to attack at all costs or stop teams. for a team with low GF and GA we oddly went with wingbacks who were vulnerable. you either need to play a defensive formation and marking wide backs, or if what you really want is all out attack, keep the wingbacks but play some different center mids who are better technicians and less two-way types (i don’t think mckennie and musah are tight spaces pinball soccer types). right now they’re stuck between being an offense or a defense. to advance deep in this sort of event you need at least one as a strength if not both.

      maybe we can find wingbacks who can mark then get forward.

      • also if you noticed one way messi was getting after NED was just dribbling at them. i thought NED’s defense looked tall but slow. we for some reason decided to hit crosses at a bunch of 6′ guys rather than run around it or try and juke it.

  4. england-france is interesting because for all we envy england (and our england-US game got outsize interest) but lately they envy france. we being half cooked europhiles imitate england’s decentralized academy system while england has spent the last decade trying to replicate france’s centralized clairefontaine, feeling they needed more development and common training to compete for trophies. (we then imitate dutch/spanish 433 tactics that have netted them 1 world cup in 90 years and are now passe.)

    • The Dutch created the 3-4-3. They don’t play a 4-3-3, nor do they play a 3-5-2, as you have suggested, and keep forcing. Gakpo played beneath the 2 wingers v Argentina. Klaassen played underneath Gakpo, & Depay v USA. In a 3-5-2, it’s usually small winger, with a CF, and the CF isn’t the facilitator. The 10 is. In a 3-4-3, who ever is in the lowest position out of the front 3 is the playmaker. Example- Klaassen was the lower than Depay & Gakpo, out of the front 3 v the USA. Klaassen was the playmaker and also defended the 6. Gakpo was the lowest in the front 3 v Argentina, with Begwijn & Depay. He was the facilitator, & had to defend in the midfield, (Argentina didn’t use a traditional 6), which is partly why he didn’t score. Only 2 countries played a 3-5-2 in 2018 WC. Harry Kane & Sterling were the 2 forwards for England. Lukaku & Hazard were the 2 forwards for Belgium. The 2 forwards in a 3-5-2 are not responsible for blocking passing lanes, sitting in the space between the fullbacks & CBs, like they are in a 3-4-3. Countries that create a formation rarely use other countries formation. The Dutch created the 3-4-3, or “mirror formation” because it was designed to mirror all the formations before it. The Spaniards have the 4-3-3. Germans have the 4-2-3-1. Exception- Italians changed their 3 CBs formula around when they won the Euros with a 4-3-3. I think, they’re getting more like France, Portugal or England and try to use the best formation to fit their players. Other than that, the Dutch ain’t changing anything, they created the 3-4-3 and that’s what they’ve been playing for a cycle, now.

      • you’re listing a bunch of eliminated teams without acknowledging it. eg i thought germany, however talented, played our formation and looked even more lackidaisical in it. my point is pick something that works now. it was popular. teams evolved to thwart it. no one with a brain plays a formation with obvious exploits that everyone right now is still attuned to use. wait another 20 years. i remember playing a 433 back in the 1980s.

        you are incorrect factually. michels’ 433 soccer evolved into the formations that followed in the netherlands. you apparently woke up in 1990 and neglect the 1970s which were as close as they got to success. the part the ill-informed miss is the dutch used to play more positionless soccer which brought dynamism to what can otherwise be a boring channeled formation. and you also neglect that the 433 has tons of defensive problems. you are asking a lot of 3 mids to cover all that ground. what we do to finesse that is play a bunch of 6s and 8s kind of like klinsi’s 4321 in 2014. which defeats the point of the aggressive attacking array.

        this is not man city. this is not france. we are not so superior we can pin world class defenses back. we either end up compromising the attacking nature of the formation with a bunch of DMs and two ways or we under-cook a defensive concept in a freaking 433. anyone who wants to pretend you can defend well from a 433 has never been in the middle of that sandwich.

    • the keeper was oddly tentative and his angle to the goal was just strange. the net is open because he basically overran the play. if you go up for that you have to either crunch the guy or have a play on the ball. that was a way high cross and usually when it hangs up the keeper either gets it or gets a foul by banging into the guy in the 6. if a keeper and forward bang 90% of the time the ref rubber stamps a foul in the 6.

      morocco was refreshingly direct (23% possession) and then organized in defense. importantly their response to a poor friendly with us was to push the coaching in a direction worthy of the roster, not to babble about projects and make excuses. the people who want to take a vicarious credit for this, “well, the US beat a semifinalist” miss that point — this is not the same team — and i’d prefer to be talking about us instead of making schedule comparisons that really flatter the teams we play rather than say something positive about us.

      also, portugal, akin to berhalter and reyna, the objective response to being hassled for benching ronaldo is probably not play them even less. it feels almost like an “i’ll show you who’s boss” response. bosses with that attitude tend to suck. a good boss doesn’t have to show you they are one, particularly by being arbitrary to a defeating point.

      • Ronaldo’s pitiful whining and neverending narcissism (once a strength for him) doomed him, nothing else, because he ain’t that good no more and he cannot handle that reality. very simple. Comparing this situation to Gio’s? clouded judgment at best imo, super bitter misfired logic at worst

      • beach: for most players a goal in 290′ in 5 world cup games would be a solid trip. 2 goals in 5 nations cup games. 2 goals in 6 european games. 1 goal in the EPL spot playing. he will be good for about 10 goals a season at his current 200 mins/goal pace. at that production level — roughly about what joao felix (who plays for atleti that i watch regularly) managed just the same — he will be serviceable once the politics end. is he worth tens of millions still? no. but he remains an above average level player.

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