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Twitter explodes as Emiliano Martinez keeps Lionel Messi's FIFA World Cup dream alive with heroics in penalty shootout win over Netherlands

A memorable night for Argentina and Messi.
A memorable night for Argentina and Messi.

Argentina secured a dramatic 4-3 penalty-shootout win over the Netherlands in their quarter-final clash to keep Lionel Messi's dream of a FIFA World Cup alive.

La Albiceleste were the better side in a drab first half and made the breakthrough in the 35th minute, thanks to brilliance from the irrepressible Lionel Messi.

The 35-year-old glided his way through midfield before sending an inch-perfect pass to wing-back Nahuel Molina who poked home a vital opener.

Oranje managed just one shot in the first 45 minutes, their joint-lowest in a FIFA World Cup game since 1966.

It was a first half with few chances, but the second-half drama set to unfold was remarkable.

Louis van Gaal's men came out with an equalizer on their minds, but they struggled to conjure up any real attacking threat.

Argentina then took a 2-0 lead in the 72nd minute when Lionel Messi struck from the penalty spot after Denzel Dumfries brought down Marcos Acuna.

Messi stepped up and fired home a cool penalty to extend Argentina's lead.

However, the Dutch gave La Albiceleste a nervy finish when Wout Weghorst stepped off the bench in the 78th minute and struck a fantastic 83rd-minute finish.

Van Gaal's side bombarded Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez's goal in the dying embers.

Steven Berghuis smashed an effort against the side netting in the 85th minute.

Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz drew the ire of the Netherlands. He handed out 13 yellow cards throughout a controversial performance.

However, he added 10 minutes on, much to Dutch delight.

It had seemed Argentina were heading into the semi-finals to play Croatia, but Weghorst had other ideas.

The 30-year-old stunned La Albiceleste and the world in the 90+11th minute.

Teun Koopmeiners played a clever free-kick into the Argentine box, which found Weghorst.

He stabbed the ball past Emiliano Martinez and wheeled away in delight as the drama reached fever pitch.

Extra time arrived, and it was tense, with both sides eager to get a foothold in a game that became somewhat of a fitness battle.

Lautaro Martinez and Enzo Fernandez saw deflected efforts go close as the game headed into the final moments of extra time.

Fernandez hit the post in the 130th minute as the game went to penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Netherlands skipper Virgil van Dijk stepped up to take the first but saw his penalty denied by the heroic Emiliano Martinez.

Messi had no problem converting his spot-kick, and Emiliano Martinez then denied Berghuis.

Argentina's Leandro Paredes scored, as did Dutch midfielder Teun Koopmeiners and Argentine Gonzalo Montiel.

Enzo Fernandez shot wide with the game at stake after Weghorst netted his penalty. Luuk de Jong then gave the Dutch hope by dispatching his.

However, it was up to Lautaro Martinez to send Argentina through to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup, and he did just that.

Here are some reactions from fans on Twitter to a remarkable game:

πŸ‡¦πŸ‡· Β‘HOY JUEGA ARGENTINA! https://t.co/WwAESTzYOl
That was one of the most stressful games I’ve ever watched in my life, I am struggling to breathe. Messi pulled through, Argentina in the end pulled through, 2 MORE GAMES FOR THE TROPHY πŸ‡¦πŸ‡·
Give Messi the trophy this is definitely his World Cup
ARGENTINA OMFG MESSI THE GOAT
Emiliano Martinez, the man who decided the GOAT debate.#FIFAWorldCup https://t.co/d3NOQ02olI
Argentina have now won more penalty shoot-outs than any other nation in World Cup history (5). πŸ™Œ#FIFAWorldCup https://t.co/cG4dUukZsi
The Netherlands needed to parachute Tim Krul in.
2 - Wout Weghorst has become the first ever substitute to score twice in a World Cup match for Netherlands. His equaliser was timed at 100:30 - the latest second half goal in a World Cup knockout stage game since Opta have exact goal times (from 1966). Saviour. https://t.co/3oKSPTXoQU
Mac Allister lying behind the Argentina wall watching Weghorst equalise https://t.co/Z6FdAOtUxH
Referee is giving unlimited yellow cards πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Wout Weghorst conjuring up some magic vs Argentina… https://t.co/gWe40VvEUT
It’s πŸ”Ÿ World Cup goals in Lionel Messi career. β­οΈπŸ‡¦πŸ‡· #Qatar2022 #Messi https://t.co/n7JrIyMdJq
There are people that will watch Messi play passes like that and still think Ronaldo is a better footballer btw πŸ’€
Argentina lead through Molina. How? Just how does Messi do this shit? Mind-blowingly brilliant.
Just Messi things πŸ€·β€β™‚οΈπŸ§  https://t.co/mcuAHy7ldh
Argentina team in a pic https://t.co/TQWNhPgfsT
United fans watching a Van Gaal side struggling to create chances https://t.co/5iWq18U2sJ
even if argentina doesn’t win the world cup, which they most likely will, messi is 100% winning the golden ball
Wout Weghorst now has more World Cup knockout goals than Cristiano Ronaldo
Weghorst dunked on that midget LOOOL https://t.co/8q3Gq7Ud2b
the thing about argentina is that if you're an argentina supporter, you never feel more nervous than when they're playing with the lead lmao twitter.com/RoyNemer/statu…
The referee in Argentina's dressing room after the game https://t.co/Yf0uyx5LUa
Argentina fans seeing 10 minutes added time https://t.co/bysprDNJLH
Argentina has scored 9 goals in this tournament.Leo Messi has been involved in 6 of them πŸ‡¦πŸ‡·πŸ. https://t.co/31N6TOyGf5

When do Lionel Messi's Argentina face Croatia in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals?

Lionel Messi's FIFA World Cup journey continues
Lionel Messi's FIFA World Cup journey continues

Lionel Messi heads into the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup to face the 2018 runners-up Croatia.

The two nations will battle on Tuesday, 13 December at the Lusail Stadium.

This is Messi's fifth and final World Cup tournament, and he is on course to win the tournament for the first time.

Croatia beat Brazil on penalties on the same day as Argentina secured a dramatic shootout win over the Netherlands.

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Edited by Matthew Guyett
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