Argentina edge Netherlands in shootout to win World Cup quarter-final thriller


It was fiery, it was fractious, it descended into utter bedlam, simply a World Cup knockout tie for the ages. Argentina went to hell and back, collapsing deep into second-half stoppage time to squander a two-goal lead after Louis van Gaal’s substitutions brought a cold dollop of havoc to the table. But after a fraught period of extra time Argentina came out on top of a ludicrous bout that ended with Lautaro Martínez scoring the decisive spot-kick in a penalty shootout victory. By the end Lionel Messi’s mesmeric first-half assist and nonchalant second-half penalty for his 10th World Cup goal, to equal Gabriel Batistuta’s record for Argentina, finished as mere footnotes.

A barmy win means Argentina have now reached five World Cup semi-finals, with Tuesday’s against Croatia their second since 1990. Argentina had appeared in control but the arrival of Wout Weghorst, a 6ft 6in striker who joined Besiktas on loan from Burnley in the summer, with 78 minutes on the clock undeniably changed the game. He headed in five minutes later, converting Steven Berghuis’s cross, and then with seconds of 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time to play, two of Argentina’s substitutes, German Pezzella and Leandro Paredes, sandwiched Weghorst on the edge of the box as the trio contested an aerial ball. Teun Koopmeiners, also a late substitute, shaped to shoot from the subsequent free-kick but instead cannoned the ball into the feet of Weghorst, who rolled his marker and promptly prodded the ball into the far corner, a replica of a goal Weghorst scored for Wolfsburg two years ago.

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Written by Ben Fisher at Lusail Stadium
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