The night was not about them. Everyone was talking about Messi, Neymar… Some were even imagining (and designing) how the sixth star would look on the chest of the canarinha. And the drawings, a compliment when it comes to taking advantage of a small space, are still useful but not for this year. Because Brazil, the almighty Brazil, has gone from dancing to crying. Croatia has achieved the machada and gets into the semifinals with a figure that does not stop growing, its goalkeeper Livakovic. The first unexpected hero of this Friday.
The other would arrive around eleven at night (Spanish time), already early in the morning in Qatar. His name is Emiliano ‘Dibu’ Martínez, a classic when it comes to penalty kicks. And in that luck that condemned Brazil, he elevated Argentina. An Argentina that was launched by the leader Messi that it needs and that ‘allowed’ to draw at 111′ (yes, 111′). But in supreme luck, his goalkeeper appeared heroic.
Croatia 1 (4) – 1 (2) Brazil
Let’s see who tells Neymar now that he has made history. With his great goal, he has equaled Pelé as the top scorer for the best team in history (the numbers speak). But neither he nor his companions expected that such beauty would end up being a simple statistical matter. Neymar takes his record home early.
The culprit of all this has been Croatia. An example of how to resist Brazil. First with Modric as the leader and, already in the second part, with that wall called Livakovic, who is going to be the star goalkeeper of the World Cup. And that he had not yet given his best. Brazil, up front, collected chances to open the scoring, but when the game doesn’t go their way, they are another team.
Of course, they are another team but with extra-large talent. In a fit of genius already in extra time. Neymar combined with several teammates in a vertical wall towards the goal. And solving as very few could, ‘little footstep’ included, made it 0-1. Everything seemed resolved, but Croatia still had a blow from Petkovic, with a point of luck. That is also valid and the game was going to penalties.
In them appeared the ‘hero’ of the day of Japan. If then he stopped three, today he added ‘only’ one, the first to unbalance the batch. Croatia did not fail; Brazil, so almighty, yes. Rodrygo and Marquinhos certified Tité’s painful goodbye, who resigned shortly after.
Netherlands 0-2 Argentina
Argentina is a compendium of sensations. From the excessive initial self-sufficiency shown through the anxiety of a team on the ropes, to the roller coaster this Friday.
Because in a match raised with fear on both sides, and even with the same tactical drawing, a genius from Messi was enough to break it. A masterful pass enabled Nahuel Molina, who skilfully made it 0-1 shortly before the break. Van Gaal did not find the key on how to approach the Argentine defense. Nor did the hitherto inspired Cody Gakpo appear. Not even in a second half that was painting lead until a silly mistake in Dutch defense gave away a penalty.
Messi, very grateful to him and with all the calm in the world, made it 0-2. Then and only then did the nerve come out of the Netherlands. With everything already lost and with nothing to keep behind, Weghorst made it 1-2 with a great header. The siege lasted until 111′, in a strategic move for history, a free kick taken low and short from the edge of the area was caught by Weghorst again. Madness and 2-2.
There was no Dutch arreón riding the wave of his high and the extension had two halves. Yes, it’s a no-brainer, but it makes sense. In the first the nerves calmed down after the ruckus and in the second literally everything could happen, until the last second, with a shot from Enzo Fernández to the post. But things were going to penalties today and it couldn’t end any other way.
And in them, a compendium of failures, those who were right were Messi, Lautaro and the one who was crowned was ‘Dibu’ Martínez.
On Tuesday the two protagonists of today, Livakovic-Dibu, will be measured. The two unexpected heroes.
Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.
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