Lionel Messi was the star of the show as he inspired Argentina to penalty shoot-out victory over the Netherlands at the World Cup.
As well as scoring a spot-kick in normal time, he set up Nahuel Molina to score his first international goal in the quarter-final clash before keeping his cool in the shoot-out itself.
GettyMessi was the main man, as always, for Argentina
GettyArgentina players celebrated wildly at the end of a fiery contest
Argentina had thought the game was done and dusted with 20 minutes to go, leading 2-0 in Qatar thanks to Messi’s goal and assist.
But Wout Weghorst had other ideas, scoring with seven minutes to go and then in the 10th minute of injury time.
Argentina looked to be losing their grip but when it was all on the line, they scored all but one of their five penalties to send the Dutch home.
Messi was always going to be heavily involved and he was the man to spark the game into life 10 minutes before half-time.
Atletico Madrid right-back Molina was in the right place at the right time in the box as his iconic teammate delivered a perfect reverse ball.
Stretching beyond Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk, Molina prodded the ball past Andries Noppert, sending the Argentinian supporters into raptures.
GettyMessi and Molina combined to put the semi-finals in touching distance
GettyMolina got on the end of a delicious pass from Messi
The game had been a drab affair up until the 35th minute strike, but it was the South Americans who broke the Netherlands backline down, sending them into the break ahead.
“Well it’s that right-hand side of Argentina that they’ve probably shown more threat,” talkSPORT’s commentator for the game and ex-England captain Stuart Pearce said after Molina’s goal.
“What a reverse pass from Messi, picked the ball up some 35 yards out, drove across the pitch and without even lifting his head up, he’s seen the run and a wonderful toe-poked finish as it’s gone in but everything was done to Messi.
“His movement, he pulled Nathan Ake around, stopped him, started him again and a reverse pass which is absolutely fantastic. A brilliant finish.”
GettyMolina couldn’t believe it
GettyAnd Messi loved it too
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Not a bad time to score your first goal for your country!
Messi’s assist was followed by a penalty in the second half, before a Wout Weghorst brace saw the game go to extra-time.
Virgil van Dijk’s fiery clash with Leandro Paredes saw the game on the verge of violence, but it cooled before tempers resulted in red cards.
GettyWeghorst stunned Argentina with a late brace
But Argentina were victorious in the end
And the clash went to penalties with the score level at 2-2 at the end of the 120 minutes.
Messi then netted his spot-kick as Argentina won the shoot-out 4-3, sending them through to the semi-finals.
They’ll now face Croatia for a spot in the World Cup final next weekend, following their penalty shootout victory over Brazil.
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Originally Posted By Talk Sport