Argentina Dec 9, 2022; Lusail City, QATAR; Argentina celebrates after defeating Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Lusail Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

If anybody tries to tell you that soccer is boring, you just need to show them the Netherlands-Argentina quarterfinal from the FIFA World Cup. It had goals, late comebacks, fights, and dodgy referee decisions that rival the NFL.

In the end, Argentina held on after giving up two late goals in regular time to win a penalty shootout and advance to the FIFA World Cup semifinal. Argentina will face Croatia, who beat Brazil in a shootout just an hour or so before the Netherlands-Argentina match.

The first 80 or so minutes was largely run by Lionel Messi and Argentina. He placed a perfect pass to Nahuel Molina for the first Argentina goal and then scored the second on a penalty in the 73rd minute. Then the Netherlands got back on the front foot, and not only did they score, but things got a lot more physical.

Wout Weghorst pulled one back with a glancing header, and then just five minutes later, Leandro Paredes slide tackled Nathan Aké and then fired the ball into the nearby Dutch bench. The benches cleared and Virgil van Dijk reacted by making a mad dash to bulldoze Paredes. Now you’re starting to figure out why there were 17 yellow cards, even though van Dijk didn’t get carded for his actions.

With all the extra time added, that gave the Netherlands enough time for Weghorst to get his second goal thanks to a free kick where Teun Koopmeiners passed the ball beneath the wall to Weghorst for the equalizer.

As extra time began, Argentina started to get it back together and had a shot go off the post right before extra time ended.

In the shootout, it was all Emiliano Martínez, who saved the Netherlands’ first two shots. That wound up being the difference as Argentina won the penalty shootout 4-3 and earned themselves a date against Croatia.

In the end, it was 120 minutes of whirlwind fun even though it got a bit messy (no pun intended) sometimes. It wasn’t the most beautiful match of the World Cup but it sure was one we’ll remember.

On Saturday, Morocco play Portugal while England faces France to complete the semifinal bracket.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @phillipbupp