Football Features

“How did Messi see that pass?” – Player ratings as Argentina edge out the Netherlands on penalties

By James Amey

Published: 22:15, 9 December 2022

Argentina reached the World Cup semi-finals with a dramatic 4-3 win on penalties against the Netherlands. 

A first international goal from Nahuel Molina and a 73rd minute penalty from Lionel Messi looked to have secured a semi-final spot during normal time for Argentina, before Wout Weghorst scored twice, including a 90+10′ minute equaliser to send the game into extra-time.

But it was not to be for the Netherlands, Emi Martinez saved from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis before Lautaro Martinez won it for the Argentines to keep Lionel Messi’s dream of winning the World Cup alive. 

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Here’s how the players rated at the Lusail Iconic Stadium:


Mateu Lahoz – 2 – Dished out more yellow cards than any other referee in a single World Cup game in the competition’s history and even had to get one in during the penalty shootout.


Andries Noppert – 5 – Not one of his better games.

Jurrien Timber – 5 –  Struggled as the game went on defensively, committing a game high five fouls and winning just three of his nine ground duels.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Made a huge block to deny Lautaro Martinez in extra-time, but missed the opening penalty of the shootout.

Nathan Ake – 5 – Fantastic ball to set Depay free early on, but couldn’t get close enough to Messi after being mesmerised by him for Argentina’s first.

Denzel Dumfries – 3 – Stupidly gave away a penalty for bringing down Acuna and offered very little going forward after being so impressive in the last-16.

Marten de Roon – 5 – Subbed at the break after a less than impressive first half that saw him win just two of his seven duels.

Frenkie de Jong – 7 – Stepped up when they needed him, constantly showed for the ball and kept the ball moving, pushing his side on.

Daley Blind – 5 – Did ok defensively, but non existent nothing going forward. Subbed after 64 minutes

Memphis Depay – 3 – Gave possession away far too often (18 times), completed 0/3 take-ons and did not have a single shot for the 77 minutes that he was on the pitch.

Steven Bergwijn – 4 – Offered nothing going forward before being hooked at HT.

Cody Gakpo – 5 – Very quiet for long periods of the game, nothing really came off and completed 0/5 take-ons.


Steven Berghuis (for Bergwijn 46′) – 5 – Provided an assist, but also missed his penalty.

Teun Koopmeiners (for de Roon 46′) – 7 – Piece of genius to assist his side’s last minute equaliser in normal time from a free-kick.

Luuk de Jong (for Blind 65′) – 5 – He’s no Wout Weghorst is he?

Wout Weghorst (for Depay 78′) – 8- From relegation with Burnley to being a super-sub at the 2022 World Cup. Scored just five minutes after coming on with a brilliant header to give his side hope and then equalised deep, deep into stoppage time to force extra-time.

Noa Lang (for Gakpo 113′) – N/A – Came on late

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Emi Martinez – 8 – Did not make a single save during 90 minutes, conceding twice but more than made up with it with two fantastic stops in the shootout.

Cuti Romero – 6 – Did everything that was asked of him. Booked for a stupid handball.

Nicolas Otamendi – 4 – Gave away two very dangerous free-kick late on, with the latter leading to the Netherlands’ last minute equaliser in normal time.

Lisandro Martinez – 7 – Reads the game incredibly well, won 100% of his ground duels and made more clearances than any of his teammates.

Nahuel Molina – 7 – Timed his run perfectly before putting the ball past Noppert with a touch and finish a seasoned striker would be proud of for his first ever international goal.

Rodrigo de Paul- 6 – Messi’s bodyguard, broke play up well and then replaced before the chaos started.

Enzo Fernandez – 6 – Smashed the post with a brilliant strike in the final minute of extra-time to nearly win the game for Argentina, put his penalty wide.

Alexis Mac Allister – 7 – Unsung hero of this Argentinian side, working tirelessly and does all the simple things excellently. Final ball could have been better on occasion.

Marcos Acuna – 8 – Booked for a poor challenge in the first half, but was brilliant after that. Won 9/11 ground duels, completed 100% of his take-ons and dealt superbly with Dumfries in the second before winning the penalty that Lionel Messi converted.

Lionel Messi – 9 – The opening goal was all him, shifted his body expertly to open up the space and then played a perfect throughball to Molina to poke past the goalkeeper. One of the only players in the world that would have seen that pass, a pass that broke Diego Maradona’s record for the most chances created in the history of the men’s World Cup.

Constantly surrounded by Dutch players and always keeping the ball, showing incredible close control before linking up play all over the pitch and playing some sumptuous passes. Made no mistake from the spot to equal Gabriel Batistuta’s record for the most goals scored for Argentina in the history of the World Cup (10).

The goat for a reason.

Julian Alvarez – 5 – Very quiet evening for the 22-year old after impressing in his two previous starts. Failed to really get into the game.


Leandro Paredes (for de Paul 66′) – 5 – Nearly started a riot by kicking the ball at the Netherlands subs and took a brilliant penalty.

Nicolas Tagliafico (for Acuna 78′) – 5 – Completed just five passes, didn’t really get involved.

German Pezzella (for Romero 78′) – 3 – Possibly one of the worst substitutions in World Cup history. Came on to give the defence some help to deal with the aerial threat from Weghorst and De Jong but won 0/5 aerial duels, made 0 clearances, 0 tackles, 0 blocks and 0 interceptions. Booked.

Lautaro Martinez (for Alvarez 82′) – 5 – Missed a great chance late on that was blocked by Van Dijk and had a powerful shot palmed away. Scored the winning penalty to send Argentina to the semi-finals.

Gonzalo Montiel (for Molina 106′) – 5 – Came on, got booked.

Angel Di Maria (for Lisandro Martinez 111′) – N/A – Came on late.