Argentina survived a late collapse to beat the Netherlands on penalties and reach the semifinal of the FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium and keep Lionel Messi’s dream of signing off with a trophy alive.

After a comfortable lead through goals from Nahuel Molina and Messi, the South Americans almost imploded in the final ten minutes of the game as Wout Weghorst struck twice to send the game into extra time.

But just like in the 2014 edition, Argentina prevailed in the shootout after Emi Martinez saved kicks from Virgil Van Dijk and Steven Berghuis.

There were no signs of such high drama as the game began with Argentina looking comfortable with the ball.

Their domination paid off in the 35th minute when Messi picked Netherlands’ defence apart with an inch-perfect pass to find Molina who opened the scoring with a poke past Andries Noppert.

This pattern continued until the 73rd minute when Messi scored his 4th goal of the tournament from the penalty spot after Denzel Dumfries fouled Marcos Acuña.

Messi’s 10th goal in the World Cups tied him with Gabriel Batistuta for most in Argentina’s history.

Argentina’s happiness quickly dissolved as Weghorst scored in the 82nd minute with a header to bring the Netherlands back into the game.

With shades of their game against Australia starting to surface again, Argentina crumbled on the last kick of the regulation time as Teun Koopmeiners’ cleverly disguised freekick fell to Weghorst who scored his second goal to send the game into added time.

Neither side could get the breakthrough in the two added time halves as the second game of the night went to penalties as well. 

Argentina vs Netherlands penalties drama at the World Cup:

The Dutch chose to go with Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis who both missed their penalties to put them down 0-2 after Messi and Leandro Paredes scored for Argentina.

Koopmeiners, Weghorst and Luuk de Jong converted the final three to give them hope especially after Enzo Fernandez missed his kick but Lautaro Martinez put away the deciding penalty to send Argentina through.

The South Americans will take on Croatia to decide the finalist on December 14th.