Argentina hold on against Netherlands in a very intense battle for a spot in the semi-finals. (Image: FIFA World Cup/Twitter)

Messi’s magic stars once again as Argentina prevented an incredible comeback by the Netherlands to advance to the semi-finals winning 4-3 in the penalty shootout.

After 120 minutes, the game was 2-2 heading into a penalty shootout and there were many opportunities to take the lead.

Argentina dominated the majority of the game, scoring first in the 35th minute to take the lead, with Nahuel Molina scoring the first goal from a wizardry pass from Lionel Messi.

The ball movement and playmaking from Argentina separated it away from the Netherlands. 

Messi’s assist in Molina’s goal and his penalty goal in the 73rd minute gave the Albicelestes a two-nil lead that should have been enough to put away the Dutch team.

However, that was not the case, as the Netherlands would score two goals in the 83rd minute and during the eleven minutes added on after the 90-minute mark.

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Wout Weghorst was subbed on in the 78th minute and scored a much-needed brace to equalise to keep the Dutch’s semi-final aspirations alive.

Weghorst would head one past Emiliano Martinez, scoring from a free kick, receiving the pass from Teun Koopmeiners before poking a shot past Martinez again.

The extra time drought would lead to the penalty shootout, with the Netherlands missing their first two attempts.

Messi and Leandro Paredes would score the first two for Argentina to take a strong lead before Montiel extended the lead.

The Netherlands would respond with two goals to close the gap before Fernandez missed.

Luuk de Jong would tie the game up, heading towards a turnaround before Lautaro Martínez sealed the deal with the game-winning penalty for Argentina.

Argentina will face Croatia in the semi-final after its upset over Brazil via a penalty shootout.

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