FIFA World Cup: Argentina storm into semifinal defeating Netherlands 4-3 in penalty shootout; Croatia beat Brazil 4-2

In the FIFA World Cup 2022, Argentina stormed into the semifinal defeating Netherlands 4-3 in penalty shootout in the second quarter-final match at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar. Lionel Messi set up Nahuel Molina for the opening goal in the 35th minute.

Later Messi converted a penalty to make it 2-0 for Argentina. Wout Weghorst scored in 83rd minute for the Netherlands to reduce the lead and again sparked at the last minute to level the score. No team scored in extra time and result decided in penalty shootout.

Earlier, Croatia entered the semifinal beating five-time world champions Brazil 4-2 on penalties in the first quarter-final match at the Education City Stadium. After goalless stipulated 90 minutes, the match was levelled 1-1 in extra time.

Neymar’s brilliant goal put Brazil ahead but Petkovic levelled during the second half of the extra time.

Tonight, Morocco will lock horns with Portugal at Al-Thumama Stadium at 08:30 PM Indian Time.

AIR Sports Desk reports, After an engrossing 90 minutes, Tite’s men thought they had won it in extra time when Neymar scored a thumping effort to equal Brazil’s ‘official’ men’s goalscoring record. But Croatia’s substitute Bruno Petkovic had other ideas, stroking in a 117th-minute equaliser to take the game to the nerve-shredding shootout.

Each of Croatia’s four penalty takers – Nikola Vlasic, Mislav Orsic, Lovro Majer, and Luka Modric – found the net but for Brazil. Rodrygo’s opening penalty shot was saved by Dominik Livakovic, who had an standout performance through the game, and Marquinhos’s kick hit the post to knock out the Brazil team that were largely considered pre-tournament favorites.

Croatia deserve massive credit for their game plan, playing right out of the hands of the individually talented Brazilians, using the technical ability of their midfielders to keep a lot of slow possession, not allowing Brazil time and enough of the ball to create enough chances.

So proficient was their ability to move the ball in midfield that Brazil were, at times, frightened of pressing them too intensely, in case space opens up in behind them.

In another match Argentina and Lionel Messi kept their World Cup dream alive on a nervy night as they defeated the Netherlands 4-3 on penalties to reach the semi-finals. Argentina will now face the last edition’s runners-up Croatia.

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