LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — The Dutch have been outnumbered.
Argentina had one Lionel Messi and the Netherlands had none.
And nonetheless, the Oranje got here again and compelled additional time in a World Cup quarterfinal for the ages by scoring within the 83rd minute after which on a playground-type restart within the eleventh — sure, eleventh! — minute of second-half stoppage time.
When Argentina escaped with a 4-3 penalty-kicks win following a 2-2 draw Saturday to achieve a semifinal in opposition to Croatia, the Dutch crumpled to the sphere of their evident orange uniforms, trying like a withered citrus grove. Wout Weghorst, at 6-foot-6, was flat on his again within the middle circle as Messi danced with teammates in the entrance of tens of hundreds of singing supporters.
“They gave all the things, and I’m extremely proud,” coach Louis van Gaal mentioned. “They did all the things they might to stop this from occurring.”
A nation that gave the world Complete Soccer a half-century in the past stays with a complete zero World Cup titles, nonetheless trying up at Brazil (5), Germany and Italy (4 every), Argentina, France, and Uruguay (two apiece) and England and Spain.
A famous innovator with coaches who entice youth prospects from worldwide, the Netherlands has misplaced three World Cup finals. The Dutch took an early lead in 1974 earlier than shedding to host West Germany 2-1 they usually have been again within the championship match 4 years later solely to lose to host Argentina 3-1 in additional time.
Their subsequent-technology received a European Championship title in 1988 with Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten main them over the Soviet Union 2-0. However, the large prize nonetheless eluded the Dutch.
Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie led them to a different ultimate in 2010 however they misplaced 1-0 in additional time to a superior Spain, then have been overwhelmed by Messi and Argentina in the 2014 semifinals on penalty kicks. Again within the World Cup this 12 months after failing to qualify for 2018, they entered the quarterfinal with a 19-game unbeaten streak.
There have been simply 1,400 Dutch followers who caught out of their vivid jerseys amongst a crowd of 88,235, about 90% in Argentina’s blue-and-white-striped jerseys with Messi’s No. 10 on the again.
Messi’s sublime no-look pass set up Nahuel Molina’s 35th-minute goal, and Messi doubled the lead when he converted a penalty kick in the 73rd after Denzel Dumfries pushed Marcos Acuña at the edge of the penalty area.
“I believe that penalty was awarded reasonably simply,” Van Gaal mentioned.
Taking purpose at a tall activity, Van Gaal opted for the top. He inserted Weghorst, who headed a Steven Berghuis cross past Emiliano Martínez in the 83rd.
Benches cleared 5 minutes afterward after an evening of a World Cup file 17 yellow playing cards plus a postgame pink.
After which got here the most important twist of all. After Germán Pezzella fouled Weghorst to present the Dutch a free kick from 22 yards, Teun Koopmeiners began a play seen in coaching however nearly by no means in video games: He sent a low kick along the ground into the wall, where Weghorst took a touch, spun and sent the ball past Martínez.
And that’s the place the rating remained after additional time, after the drama of Enzo Fernández hitting a submit within the second additional interval’s stoppage time.
“We thought that we’d be capable of winning when it got here to penalties,” Van Gaal mentioned.
Captain Virgil van Dijk took the primary and Martínez dived properly to push the ball away. After Messi transformed, Martínez sprawled left to disclaim Berghuis.
When Enzo Fernández put his strive off a submission, the Dutch had a gap, however, Lautaro Martínez sent his kick to the right of keeper Andries Noppert, who dived left.
Because the celebration prolonged, Messi and Van Gaal exchanged words.
“This was my final match,” mentioned Van Gaal, ending his third time period accountable for the Oranje. “I look again in an optimistic method.”
He was requested to evaluate his efficiency and talked about the workforce’s 20-game unbeaten streak.
“I don’t know what number of we received (14), however, you test all that. I believe it’s Google,” he mentioned. “Dutch workforce and Louis van Gaal and objective distinction.”