Martinez and Argentina progress to last four

Friday 09 December 2022 22:45

Argentina secured their progression to the last four of the 2022 World Cup, following a dramatic penalty shootout victory over the Netherlands.

Goals from Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi had fired La Albiceleste into a 2-0 lead, before Netherlands substitute Wout Weghorst netted twice in the final ten minutes, ensuring extra-time would be played.

The tie was eventually resolved on spot-kicks, with Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis having their shots saved by Emilio Martinez, before Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez smashed home the decisive penalty to send Argentina through to the semi-finals.

Having set up a mouth-watering clash with Croatia on Tuesday evening (19:00 GMT), Martinez's nation will be bidding to reach a first World Cup final since 1990.

His fellow United defender Tyrell Malacia was an unused substitute for the Oranje, as his nation bowed out in Qatar.

Lisandro Martinez celebrates with Lionel Messi, after the latter's penalty put Argentina 2-0 up during the second half.

The first half was played at a very slow pace, with both sides sussing each other out as the game began in Lusail.

It was Argentina who struck first, with Messi's superb vision picking out Atletico Madrid man Molina, who prodded home the game's opening goal after just 35 minutes played.

Memphis Depay and Stephen Bergwijn combined well for the Netherlands but the latter dragged his effort wide of the target.

The second half had a quicker tempo, and Argentina doubled their lead after Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuña inside the penalty area after 73 minutes and referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz pointed to the spot. Messi duly stepped up from twelve yards, slamming home his fourth goal of the tournament.

However, there was to be late drama at the Lusail Stadium, with former United boss Louis van Gaal opting to bring on Besiktas forward Weghorst with just over ten minutes remaining.

Berghuis's inswinging delivery was met by the 30-year-old substitute as he pulled a goal back, before sparking wild scenes to level the scoring deep into additional time. A clever free-kick routine was well worked, enabling Weghorst to prod home the equaliser with just seconds remaining on the clock.

United’s Brazilians bow out of World Cup


Commiserations to our Selecao quartet following a dramatic quarter-final in Qatar.

As extra-time began, both teams drove forward in search of a vital winner, with Benfica playmaker Enzo Fernandez going closest to winning the tie by striking the post late on.

United man Martinez was replaced on 112 minutes and therefore played no part in the penalty shootout that would decide which team reached the last four.

Instead, it was his namesake, Lautaro who lashed home the winner to send La Albiceleste through as another frantic quarter-final concluded. 

Congratulations to Lisandro and commiserations to Tyrell.