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World Cup quarter-final live – Netherlands vs Argentina – The Irish Times


Half-time: Netherlands 0 Argentina 1

Messi’s assist and Molina’s strike separates the sides at half-time. The Dutch have dominated possession and looked more incisive through midfield, but the one major chance of repute has fallen the way of Argentina.

Brilliant run and ball from Messi, as you’ll see below, while Molina did well to keep the ball out from under his feet for the finish.

As things stand, Messi’s World Cup dream will go to the semi-finals.

Now Weghorst on the Dutch bench gets a card for shouting something from the sidelines. This is bizarre.

Five minutes added time to be played. With the goal and the amount of stoppages for cards, that’s no surprise.

45 mins: Now Romero sees his name taken. He just bats the ball away with his hand to stop Depay from breaking down the left. Another daft foul.

43 mins: Yellow card for Timber. He pushes over Acuna after being fouled by him. Silly really. Acuna also sees yello for clipping at his heels – that will rule him out of the semi-final if Argentina qualify.

39 mins: SAVE! Another easy one for Noppert. Alvarez feeds Messi on the edge of the box. Orange jerseys swarm around him but he manages to get a shot away, albeit it’s straight at the ‘keeper.

35 mins: Stop that Messi. He dribbles past two defenders, turns Aké inside out before passing across his body to send Molina in on goal. What a pass, what a touch from Molina before poking it past Noppert. Against the run of play perhaps, but Argentina are ahead.


33 mins: SAVE! But it’s straight at Noppert. Mac Allister took a touch and fired from the edge of the box after Messi laid it off, but it was a weak effort straight at the ‘keeper.

29 mins: Excellent defending from Romero and it needed to be, his header vital in clearing a dangerous ball in from Gakpo. Netherlands continue to look the stronger side.

24 mins: That’s excellent build-up from the Dutch. Bergwijn and Depay link beautifully with some one-touch football, opening up a shot for Bergwijn. He lets fly from the edge of the box but it’s well wide.

21 mins: Netherlands are still struggling to create anything of note. They’re dominating possession in the last few minutes but a poor cross is all they have to show for it. Down the other end, Messi opens up space for a shot from 25 yards out only to blaze over.

16 mins: Netherlands’ best foray forward so far. Dumphries gets on the end of a cross that was destined for row z, doing well to keep it in play. He hooks it back across goal where Blind looks to get on the end of it but Argentina manage to clear.

13 mins: Mac Allister runs a good line in behind to work a cross but it’s over everyone’s head. De Paul then crosses from the other flank but it’s an easy catch for Noppert in the Dutch goal.

11 mins: Not sure what Acuna was doing there. After good work from Messi to pick him out, his attempted cross is like a rocket, badly overhit as it sails through the box, absolutely nowhere near a fellow blue jersey.

9 mins: Nearly chances at both ends. First of all Alvarez nearly intercepts a pass in the Dutch box while up the other end, Depay almost feeds Gakpo in on goal with a deft touch. Both sides are starting to settle.

5 mins: First shot of the game comes from Argentina. They win the ball high up the pitch, working a chance for De Paul on the edge of the area. Gakpo has tracked back and gets his body in the way.

4 mins: A bizarre incident forces the referee to stop the game. Miles away from the ball, Gakpo ad Fernandez clash and both hit the deck.

1 min: We are underway! Netherlands kick things off through Depay. Donabate’s own Alexis Mac Allister is caught early for a foul as Argentina can get out of their own half.

Anthems are done and we are minutes away from kick-off. There are a lot of Argentinians in Lusail, safe to say to they made themselves heard.

Right then. Gakpo, van Dijk and co vs Messi, Alvarez and Mac Allister. Who you backing?

Meanwhile, the build-up to this game saw Dutch boss Louis van Gaal bizarrely try to kiss his striker Memphis Depay. The exchange started because a journalist asked van Gaal his response to Argentina’s Angel Dí Maria, who van Gaal coached at Manchester United, was the worst manager he worked with.

Here’s soccer correspondent Gavin Cummiskey:

“Di Maria is a really good football player,” said van Gaal, visibly unmoved. “At the time when he played for Man United he had a lot of personal issues. There was a break-in at his house.”

In 2015, di Maria and his young family were eating dinner in their Cheshire home when three burglars entered the premises.

“That also affected his form that year,” van Gaal continued, taking no prisoners at a confrontational eve-of-quarter-final briefing. “That he referred to me as the worst trainer is a pity because usually it is the other way around. Memphis also played for me at Man Utd and now we kiss each other on the lips.”

Van Gaal attempted to peck Memphis Depay (28) but the Barcelona striker turned the other cheek. Half the auditorium exploded in laughter, the other half raise hands, silently demanding an opportunity to halt the comedy sketch.

Here’s some pre-match reading. First up, our man Gavin Cummiskey is in Qatar and he looks at Alexis Mac Allister, the Argentinian revelation who looks like an Irish lad. Turns out, there’s a great, great, great-grandad in there somewhere.

Here’s how Argentina will line out. Lisandro Martínez comes in for Alejandro Gomez as they too make one change to the side that was victorious in the last-16.

First things first, here are the two teams. Gakpo has been the star of the tournament so far for the Dutch, and he sits in behind the two strikers Depay and Bergwijn, who is in for Klaasen in the only change from the team that beat the USA.

Hello all! After the drama of the Brazil game, where Neymar was sent packing, are we about to witness another superstar’s last World Cup act? Can Lionel Messi keep his World Cup dream alive?

We’ll shortly find out. Louis van Gaal’s Dutch side stands in his way in the day’s second quarter-final.

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