La Pulce scored his tenth goal from a penalty in a final phase of the World Cup and equaled Batistuta, but Weghorst’s brace in the 111th minute postponed the Albiceleste’s joy. On penalties decisive saves by Emiliano and glacial Lautaro with the decisive penalty. Scaloni will challenge Croatia on Tuesday
Leo Messi and the Martinezes (Emiliano and Lautaro) dragged Argentina to the semifinals. A goal, an assist and one of the penalties converted in the final series for the champion from Rosario; two penalties neutralized for the Aston Villa goalkeeper, while Toro put the exclamation point on the last shot from the spot. How cold! Seleccion will face Croatia on Tuesday, who came out victorious from the fourth with Brazil, but for coach Scaloni it was a pain. As had already happened in the round of 16 against Australia, Argentina went 2-0 up (opening goal from Molina following a sumptuous assist from Messi, then doubling PSG’s star from the penalty spot), but was unable to manage. Thus he allowed the oranjes to equalize with a brace from Weghorst who found the 2-2 in the 111th minute. Nervous match with 48 fouls and 16 yellow cards: at times it was a bullfight that referee Lahoz didn’t direct well. The epilogue to penalties with the Albiceleste in triumph as in the semi-final of the 2014 Brazilian World Cup.
The first half was very tactical, with low pace and countermeasures prepared on both fronts to limit the opponents. Let’s face it honestly: it wasn’t a manifesto of beautiful football. Except for the action of Argentina 1-0, a goal signed by Molina, but packaged by Messi. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, always doubled or tripled, freed himself and, looking the other way, “potted” perfectly for the former Udinese winger, quick to score his first goal with Seleccion. Van Gaal’s fort blew up after 35′ of balance in which the oranjes had defended themselves with compact lines and had conceded little to the biancocelesti thanks to Gakpo’s iron marking on the director Enzo Fernandez. Scaloni had decided to “respect” the Netherlands and, as happened in the second half against Australia, had given up on a forward (Papu Gomez) to bet on a 3-5-2: he didn’t want to find himself exposed in the face of incursions from Gakpo and to the speed of Depay and Bergwijn. Right choice because in the initial 45 minutes Holland never finished in the mirror defended by Emiliano Martinez. All this despite the Dutch having had more ball possession (57%): the problems for Van Gaal were the very slow circulation and the difficulty in attacking depth. Playing like this, he had no chance of going through.
At the start of the second half, the oranje coach changed two men, Berghuis for Bergwijn and Koopmeiners for De Roon, but not the form and tactical attitude: Holland continued to play the match without however raising the pace or being dangerous. Thus, it was Messi who came close to scoring from a free kick, which ended just over the crossbar. Van Gaal decided to risk more by inserting Luuk De Jong in place of the injured Blind and switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation, but it was Argentina who scored, this time from a penalty kick won by Acuna (naive foul of Dumfries) and transformed by Messi. Van Dijk and his teammates were on the ropes, but their coach found the spark to reopen the match by sending Weghorst onto the field and completely changing his tactical attitude. The Besiktas centre-forward, with his formation all unbalanced forward, found the 1-2 with a header and then, when the 10 minutes of added time were already over, the 2-2 with a beautiful free-kick scheme. Argentina frozen and forced into extra time when they thought they had the semifinal in hand.
A LOT OF ARGENTINA
Seleccion, shaken and nervous by the comeback suffered, started overtime like a diesel and was helped by a less unscrupulous Holland than in the assault with which she had found the 2-2. Scaloni threw Di Maria not at the top into the fray and Toro (twice), Enzo Fernandez (a post and a low shot) and Messi came close to making it 3-2. Then the penalties with the triumph of the Albiceleste thanks to the decisive goal of the Interista Lautaro.
December 9, 2022 (change December 9, 2022 | 23:19)
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