Lionel Messi has said he felt “disrespected” by Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal and blasted the referee after Argentina beat the Dutch 4-3 on penalties in a thrilling World Cup quarterfinal at Lusail Iconic Stadium in Qatar 2022 on Friday.
The Barcelona superstar felt Van Gaal had disrespected him in the build-up to Friday’s quarter final clash.
Messi assisted Nahuel Molina on Argentina’s opening goal and scored the second goal from the penalty spot as Argentina built a commanding 2-0 lead in the 73rd minute.
Wout Weghorst, a replacement for the Dutch team, scored twice in stoppage time, the second of which came on a free kick in the eleventh minute. Because of these scores, the game went into extra time and eventually a penalty shootout.
The competition, though, became fiercer as time went on. Leandro Paredes shot the ball toward the Netherlands bench at one point. In retaliation, Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk threw Paredes to the ground and stole the ball.
Messi scored and gestured toward the Dutch bench in celebration, prompting him to talk to Van Gaal after the game.
“I feel disrespected by Van Gaal after his pregame comments and some Dutch players spoke too much during the game,” Messi told reporters.
Just before the semifinal, Van Gaal said Messi doesn’t do much when his team is out of possession.
According to Messi, Van Gaal’s strategy consists of “Van Gaal sells that he plays good football and then he puts forwards in the box and starts throwing long balls,” “We deserved to go through and that’s what happened.”
While Van Dijk and Steven Berghuis had harsh words for Van Gaal, Argentina’s hero in the shootout, goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, also spoke out.
According to Martinez, “I heard Van Gaal saying ‘we’ve got an advantage on penalties we win.”
“I think he needs to keep his mouth shut.”
With this victory, Argentina advances to their sixth FIFA World Cup semifinal and second in the past three championships, where they will face Croatia, who eliminated Brazil.
Messi said: “We didn’t expect to go to extra time, let alone to penalties.” We suffered, but we are playing a World Cup quarterfinal.
“Argentina shows game by game that we know how to play. We came out with intensity and desire and we understood the moments of the game.
“We needed this and we are happy the whole country is celebrating now. [Martinez] once again showed that he’s the best saving penalties.
“Croatia is a great team. They move the ball very well, they have been working together for a long time, it will be very hard.”