Teamwork makes the dream work

Lionel Messi on rally vs. Netherlands: ‘We now have a weight off our shoulders’

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar – Lionel Messi’s World Cup dream might have ended within the wee hours on Saturday morning native time, and within the cruelest potential means.

Up 2-0 with 1 / 4 of an hour of normal time to play because of Messi’s objective from the penalty spot and an excellent help that solely the 35-year-old residing legend might have offered, Argentina surrendered two late targets to Netherlands substitute Wout Weghorst – with the equalizer arriving within the eleventh minute of second half stoppage time. However the Albiceleste rallied throughout additional time, and ultimately received the match on penalty kicks because of keeper Emiliano Martínez’s two saves.

“We now have a weight off our shoulders,” Messi stated afterward. “We might have been out after being 2-0 forward.”

Lionel Messi goes BEAST MODE for Argentina towards the Netherlands within the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Messi went so far as to recommend that there might have been some divine intervention concerned – from Argentina icon Diego Maradona. “Diego is watching us from heaven, he’s pushing us,” Messi stated of Maradona, who led Argentina to its final World Cup title, in 1986.

Maradona died simply over two years in the past. On Nov. 25, the anniversary of his dying, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni implored his gamers to rebound from a surprising loss to Saudi Arabia of their first match at Qatar 2022 by beating Mexico the next day. They did, then reeled of wins towards Poland and Australia to achieve the final eight. Subsequent, they’re going to play Croatia, which beat Brazil by way of that technique earlier within the night (Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports activities app).

They took it to a distinct degree towards the Dutch, controlling many of the sport after which overcoming the shock of giving up a final gasp equalizer.

“I informed my gamers that the sport was for us,” Scaloni stated. “We’d have deserved to keep away from the penalty shootout, however we fought till the top. It was a troublesome match and the Dutch staff prompted some bother for us particularly within the second half. It was a really unusual second half. All the things was managed for us however then we all know what occurs with soccer. It’s a stunning sport however generally whenever you suppose that every thing is over, then you might be stunned.”

When the match went to the tiebreaker, the coach had no scarcity of choices. “Once I needed to determine the order of penalty takers,” Scaloni stated. “We had too many volunteers.”

Martínez ripped referee Mateu Lahoz for including 10 minutes of stoppage time after the 90 minutes had been up, however Scaloni declined to observe swimsuit when requested post-match.

“I do know him I’ve an excellent relationship with him,” Scaloni stated of Lahoz. “I do not wish to discuss in regards to the referee. Fortunately, every thing I turned out properly.”

Messi, alternatively, wasn’t impressed with the efficiency of the Spaniard, who issued a World Cup-record 15 yellow playing cards. He didn’t go too far “as you will be sanctioned, and you’ll’t be sincere,” he stated earlier than including: “I do not suppose he was as much as the usual.”

Messi actually was. Along with his objective and helper, he buried his effort within the shootout after Virgil van Dijk’s shot was stopped.

“Leo was crucial – he confirmed why he’s one of the best participant of all time,” Scaloni stated. “We’re completely satisfied he’s on our facet.”

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Doug McIntyre is a soccer author for FOX Sports activities. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a employees author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities and he has lined United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre. 

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