Afghan Voice Agency(AVA)_Monitoring, Emiliano Martinez saved the first two Dutch penalties to give Argentina a huge advantage and Lautaro Martinez sent Andries Noppert the wrong way to set up a date for the South Americans with Croatia in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
Messi celebrated with arms aloft in front of the massed ranks of Argentina fans, his hopes of securing football’s biggest prize at the fifth attempt intact for a few more days, Reuters reported.
“Argentina are among the four best in the world because they show that they know how to play every game with the same desire and the same intensity,” said the seven-times Ballon D’or winner.
“A lot of joy, a lot of happiness. We didn’t have to go to extra time or penalties, we had to suffer. But we got through and it’s impressive.”
The defeat was the first for the Dutch in 20 matches going back to last year’s European Championship and brought an end to 71-year-old Louis van Gaal’s third spell as coach.
It was the second time a Van Gaal team had lost to Argentina via a shootout in the knockout stages of the World Cup after a 4-2 defeat following a 0-0 draw in 2014 semi-finals.
Livakovic cements Croatia hero status
Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic cemented his hero status with a stunning display to help his team knock out five-time champions Brazil on Friday and reach the World Cup semi-finals.
The stopper had already won hearts back home after making three penalty saves against Japan in the last 16 shootout, which set his team on a collision course with favorites Brazil.
He produced a string of brilliant saves on Friday to keep Brazil’s attackers at bay and ensure Croatia reached extra time with the match goalless.
The game eventually finished 1-1, with Bruno Petkovic canceling out Neymar’s brilliant solo opener in the dying minutes of extra time.
The stage was set again for Livakovic and he did not disappoint, denying Rodrygo from the spot to help Croatia triumph 4-2 on penalties.
The 27-year-old made 10 saves against the Selecao, who were favorites to win the World Cup, on another historic night for Croatian football.
“We know if it comes to penalties we have the edge on our side,” said Croatia defender Borna Sosa. “He’s shown many, many times through his career he’s a magnificent goalkeeper.
“He gives us a lot of confidence because against a team like Brazil they will always have chances, because you cannot contain these kind of players.
“To win against Brazil you need to have this kind of luck a little bit, and a goalkeeper on the maximum level that we had today.”
Saturday’s line up
England will go up against France on Saturday looking to take another step towards World Cup glory. The Three Lions have won three of their first four matches in Qatar so far, with a draw against USA the only blotch on their record. And with the tournament going well, Gareth Southgate isn’t expected to make any changes when it comes to his starting XI.
England has been impressive so far, scoring 12 goals and overcoming the likes of Iran, Wales and Senegal to make the last eight of the competition.
In the other match of the day, Morocco will take on Portugal and, according to their coach, Walid Regragui, Morocco will have the backing of an entire continent when they attempt to become Africa’s first World Cup semi-finalists.
The North Africans will take on Portugal at Al Thumama Stadium as the first Arab nation to reach the last eight after beating Spain on penalties in the last 16.
A World Cup semi-final against either England or France is up for grabs, alongside a place in the history books.
Cameroon in 1990, Senegal’s 2002 side and the 2010 Ghana team all fell at the quarter-final stage.
“We have nothing to lose. The challenge is to do as well as we did in the previous games,” Regragui said on the eve of the match against Portugal.
“We want to show that Africa deserves to be here, Morocco deserves to be here.
Morocco have the best defensive record in the tournament, having conceded only one goal in their four matches.
Where to watch
Afghan fans need not miss out on any of the excitement of this year’s tournament which is being broadcast live and exclusively by Ariana Television in Afghanistan.