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.