Both teams started the first half expectantly, with the Orange looking the most tense. Argentina had clearly planned to test the inexperienced Dutch goalkeeper Noppert. With every back pass, the keeper was chased, who didn’t budge. Once that only just went well, but the Netherlands escaped.
Razor-sharp through ball Messi
After fifteen minutes, the Orange seemed to have come out of its shell a bit and there were some chances on both sides. There was no real danger for either target. It was Messi who showed his class in the 35th minute by putting Molina alone in front of goal with a razor-sharp through ball. It was the first chance of the game and Noppert had no chance.
After the break, the Orange crept out of its shell a bit. The attack was more sought, but the team did not become dangerous. Argentina did. First, Messi managed to decorate a free kick on the edge of the penalty area after fifteen minutes. It just went wrong.
Louis van Gaal switched to plan B and brought Luuk de Jong into the striker. It didn’t seem to do much.
Not much later, the Argentines were sharpened again, when Macuna thankfully dropped over Denzel Dumfries’ leg, now just inside the penalty area. Messi shot in impeccably and the battle seemed settled.
That changed when the brought-in Wout Weghorst headed in out of the blue ten minutes before the end, after which the Orange started a final offensive. Suddenly the Argentine defense seemed to crack. The Orange, which had not created any chances in the first 80 minutes, was immediately close to the equalizer via Steven Berghuis, who hit the side net.
Hot closing phase
It became a hot final phase, in which tempers ran high and the Argentines pulled out all the stops to win the 1-2. Hard fouls, fights on the field and Argentinians who remained on the ground for the slightest minute. It seemed to work, but in the very last second of the ten minutes of stoppage time the impossible happened: a rehearsed variant of a free kick brought the equalizer from Weghorst’s foot again.
In extra time, things calmed down a bit: little happened in the first fifteen minutes. In the final phase of the second extra time, Argentina pushed again, but the Orange survived the final offensive, with help from the post in the last seconds.
It came down to penalties, but just like in the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, the Argentines took the penalties better. Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis missed from eleven meters, where only Enzo Fernández failed with the Argentines.
Source: RTL Nieuws by www.rtlnieuws.nl.
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