Teamwork makes the dream work

Participant rankings as Messi’s World Cup dream continues

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Argentina edged previous the Netherlands to achieve the World Cup semi-finals and maintain Lionel Messi’s hopes of a crowning glory alive, however solely after throwing away a 2-0 lead and successful a penalty shootout.

Messi obtained the ball rolling within the shootout, whereas Emiliano Martinez saved the primary two Dutch penalties. Enzo Fernandez missed the possibility to win it along with his effort however that chance got here again round for Lautaro Martinez to ship La Albiceleste by.

Messi and Nahuel Molina had given Argentina their lead in regular time, solely to see a outstanding late Netherlands comeback spearheaded by Wout Weghorst off the bench.

Though two of the most well-liked and proficient groups at this match, it was a really cagey begin to the sport from either side, with neither creating something in any respect of word within the opening 20 minutes. With half an hour performed, solely pictures properly off beam from Messi and Steven Bergwijn had been of word.

When the primary shot heading in the right direction did come, it was a group effort from Rodrigo de Paul and a straightforward save for cult hero Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert. But it surely appeared to mark a change within the sport nonetheless as a result of Molina’s opener got here virtually straight after.

The aim was made by Messi, who picked the ball up in midfield, out of the blue modified his tempo after which picked a by move to Molina that defied logic as to how he’d seen the run from the wing-back. The Atletico Madrid participant simply instinctively poked it over the onrushing Noppert.

The rest of the primary half threatened to get a bit of tetchy as tempers flared and yellow playing cards had been dished out at will by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, even to Weghorst on the bench.

Louis van Gaal was conscious sufficient that issues weren’t working for his group within the first half – Frenkie de Jong wanted to be a lot additional up the pitch to make the precise influence – that he made a double change at half-time to attempt to get it transferring.

Except for his beautiful help, Messi’s influence on the sport and on Argentina’s hopes at this World Cup was summed up in a passage of play simply after the hour mark. He jostled for the ball in his personal half, drove ahead earlier than receiving it again after which successful a free-kick off a pissed off Virgil van Dijk. The 35-year-old struck the set-piece himself and rippled the roof of the web because it simply missed.

A disappointing Dutch aspect nonetheless weren’t creating a lot and Argentina obtained the respiratory room that they had been craving with round 20 minutes to go. Denzel Dumfries was suckered into sweeping the legs of advancing wing-back Marcos Acuna and it was left to Messi to whip the ball into the aspect netting properly past the attain of the immobile Noppert.

From that time it appeared as if La Albiceleste would cruise by to the semi-finals, however Van Gaal and the Netherlands had different concepts when he despatched the large Weghorst on to hitch fellow sub and related goal man Luuk de Jong already on the pitch.

Weghorst arrange the late Dutch onslaught after connecting with an exquisite Steven Berghuis cross, powering a low header previous Martinez. Loads of followers contained in the stadium then thought there had been a quickfire equaliser when an effort was thrashed into the aspect netting.

As Argentina out of the blue appeared to cling on and the Dutch route-one sport bypassed Messi fully, tempers once more flared as substitute Leandro Paredes booted the ball within the path the Netherlands bench. Cue a melee as Dutch subs piled onto the pitch and pushing and shoving ensued.

The final gasp equaliser to power extra-time was an unbelievable piece of useless ball ingenuity. Teun Koopmeiners formed to lash a free-kick at aim, however as an alternative performed a deft move to Weghorst by the aspect of the defensive wall. Argentina weren’t anticipating it and couldn’t react in time to his end.

The ultimate whistle on the finish of the 90 sparked extra flare-ups together with the pitch. But the primary interval of extra-time was then very flat from either side, maybe out of the blue extra involved about not shedding than maintain pushing for the win.

Argentina completed the stronger of the edges in extra-time, with Van Dijk making an important late block to disclaim Lautaro Martinez after which Enzo Fernandez virtually beating Noppert unconventionally after his shot was deflected agonisingly over the cross bar. Martinez additionally pressured Noppert right into a save within the dying moments, whereas Fernandez cracked one off the bottom of the publish.

Van Dijk and Berghuis each had penalties saved by Martinez within the shootout, with Messi, Paredes and Gonzalo Montiel all changing for Argentina. Koopmeiners and Weghorst every scored theirs. After Fernandez missed the possibility to win it, Luuk de Jong saved Netherlands alive, earlier than Lautaro Martinez calmly received it with the final kick.

Wout Weghorst's brace sent the game to extra-time

Wout Weghorst’s brace despatched the sport to extra-time / ANP/GettyImages

GK: Andries Noppert – 6/10 – Crushed twice however made a couple of saves in direction of the tip of extra-time

CB: Jurrien Timber – 6/10 – Took a useless yellow card when he shoved Acuna after play had already stopped. Dedicated numerous fouls total.

CB: Virgil van Dijk (c) – 7/10 – Made a giant block in extra-time.

CB: Nathan Ake – 7/10 – Moved out to left-back within the second half and did it justice.

RWB: Denzel Dumfries – 5/10 – Spent numerous time enjoying excessive up the pitch, however could not repeat his heroics of the final 16. Gave away what proved to be the decisive penalty.

CM: Marten de Roon – 4/10 – Did not actually imprint himself on the sport and was disappointing within the deal with. Did not return for the second half.

CM: Frenkie de Jong – 5/10 – Saved having to come back deep to attempt to get on the ball. Noticed numerous it and handed precisely however it did not precisely affect the sport in a constructive means for his group.

LWB: Daley Blind – 5/10 – Could not sustain with Molina when the breakthough aim got here.

AM: Cody Gakpo – 6/10 – Not concerned a lot for a lot of the preliminary 90 minutes and numerous what he did strive did not work. Sparked into life in direction of the very finish or regular time.

ST: Steven Bergwijn – 4/10 – Did not see a lot of the ball and had one shot that went properly extensive earlier than being subbed off at half-time.

ST: Memphis Depay – 5/10 – Not his day in the long run. Off the pitch earlier than the fightback started.


Teun Koopmeiners (46′ for De Roon) – 8/10

Steven Berghuis (46′ for Bergwijn) – 7/10

Luuk de Jong (65′ for Blind) – 6/10

Wout Weghorst (78′ for Depay) – 8/10

Noa Lang (113′ for Gakpo) – 6/10


Louis van Gaal – 9/10 – Ignoring the truth that his group initially went 2-0 down, he recognised the place his group weren’t getting it proper, made adjustments and switched focus to balls into the field. The late equaliser was additionally clearly one thing that had been labored on in coaching.

Nahuel Molina was all-action for Argentina

Nahuel Molina was all-action for Argentina / ANP/GettyImages

GK: Emiliano Martinez – 7/10 – May need anticipated to do higher with the Dutch aim. His arms had been shut sufficient to it. Hadn’t been examined earlier than that however made himself a shootout hero.

CB: Cristian Romero – 6/10 – Defended properly and the Dutch did not get a sniff from him when he was on the pitch.

CB: Nicolas Otamendi – 6/10 – Repelled the excessive balls into the field, regardless of missing top in comparison with the Dutch giants. However that wasn’t how the one hundred and first minute equaliser got here.

CB: Lisandro Martinez – 6/10 – Like Otamendi, however extra so.

RWB: Nahuel Molina – 8/10 – Usually appeared eager to get ahead and was rewarded when Messi one way or the other noticed his surging run ahead.

CM: Rodrigo de Paul – 6/10 – Gave an honest efficiency within the center however pressured off barely prematurely with an harm drawback.

CM: Enzo Fernandez – 6/10 – Not sufficient alternative to do issues with the ball in significant areas till adjustments within the second half. Made way more influence in extra-time.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister – 6/10 – Battled onerous and did either side of the sport in midfield.

LWB: Marcos Acuna – 8/10 – Yellow carded for a nasty problem on Dumfries and obtained in Dutch faces. But in addition gave a prime efficiency and the sport was received in the meanwhile he went off.

ST: Lionel Messi (c) – 8/10 – Argentina’s swap of system did not appear to go well with him at first, however he modified the sport instantly 35 minutes in when he made Molina’s aim. Scored a penalty too, but when Netherlands went lengthy ball afterward, he disappeared from the sport.

ST: Julian Alvarez – 6/10 – Put in a tough shift with out the glory this time.


Leandro Paredes (66′ for De Paul) – 6/10

Nicolas Tagliafico (78′ for Acuna) – 5/10

German Pezzella (78′ for Romero) – 5/10

Lautaro Martinez (82′ for Alvarez) – 7/10

Gonzalo Montiel (106′ for Molina) – 6/10

Angel Di Maria (112′ for Li. Martinez) – 7/10


Lionel Scaloni – 6/10 – His wing-back actually did a fantastic job in deciding this sport, however one questions how a lot influence the boss truly has when Messi is so decisive.

Participant of the match – Lionel Messi (Argentina)

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