Sign up to Miguel Delaney’s Reading the Game newsletter sent straight to your inbox for free
Sign up to Miguel’s Delaney’s free weekly newsletter
Argentina edged past the Netherlands in a classic World Cup quarter-final, prevailing 4-3 on penalties after a thrilling 2-2 draw after extra-time.
The deadlock was broken after 35 minutes, with Messi sliding a glorious pass into the path of the onrushing Nahuel Molina, who finished smartly.
The Albiceleste were then gifted a chance to double their lead when Denzel Dumfries tugged at Marcos Acuna, who went down.
Messi stepped up and hit the side netting of the right corner, with Andries Noppert frozen to the middle of his goal.
The Dutch rallied late though, with substitute Wout Weghorst’s header halving the deficit.
Then dramatically taking the game to extra-time with a 101st minute finish after quick-thinking from Teun Koopmeiners to slide him the ball from the free-kick on the edge of the box.
Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive spot kick, securing a semi-final against Croatia.
Here are the player ratings from the Lusail Stadium:
Noppert - 5: A careless ball almost cut off early on. Anticipates danger well to come off line.
Dumfries - 5: Got forward well early on but faded and then gifted Argentina a penalty with a tug on Acuna.
Timber - 6: A solid outing with Argentina more concentrated on the other flank.
Van Dijk - 6: Showed pace and class to sweep around and deny Alvarez.
Aké - 6: Struggled when pressing Messi and chased shadows at times but stuck to his task well and allowed the Dutch to both play out and then go long to Weghorst and De Jong.
Blind - 3: Loses Molina for the goal and couldn’t contain Molina when pushing on.
De Roon - 5: Jumps in to hand Messi a direct run at the Dutch penalty area. Subbed at half-time.
F. de Jong - 5: Struggled in the challenge when chasing and couldn’t get the Dutch to impose themselves in possession.
Gakpo - 6: Tidy in the build-up, always looking to play aggressive passes in behind but soon faded as the game went on.
Depay - 5: Struggled to get into the game, worked hard but lacked composure on the ball.
Bergwijn - 5: Should do better after a good Dutch move leaves him with a clear strike on goal from the edge of the area. Subbed at half-time.
Berghuis - 5: Helped shift the dynamic as the Dutch changed things at the break. Shoves Messi for a booking.
Koopmeiners - 7: Settled the Dutch down and got them passing the ball nicely, lovely assist for the second.
Weghorst - 8: Turned the game upside down as the Dutch went long, a great header and then a calm head to finish inside the box.
E Martinez - 8: A watching brief for the most part, reliable in the air though and a big claim at 2-0 over De Jong, but then gets it all wrong for Weghorst’s header. But two superb saves in penalties tips the balance for his side.
Molina - 7: Adventurous run and composed finish, brilliant.
Otamendi - 5: Stepped up and exposed his side, missing Bergwijn, who got a shot away on edge of area.
Li Martinez - 6: Strong and imposing, helped enable the system change.
Romero - 5: A little rash at times and booked for ridiculously punching the ball.
Acuna - 6: A poor cross in a fine position early on. Booked and banned for the semi-final. Won the penalty cutting back inside Dumfries.
De Paul - 5: A little careless at times and couldn’t quite get on the end of a pass by Mac Allister to put him in on goal, slightly heavy pass but he seemed slow to react. Seemed to be carrying the knock that put him in doubt.
Enzo - 5: Marshalled the midfield well but then outmuscled at the death by Weghorst to concede the equaliser. A cracker hit the post and then missed in the shoot-out.
Mac Allister - 7: Excellent in the tackle, nice touches to change angles in attack and leads counters well. Excellent.
Messi - 8: Magical pass to assists Molina and calmly converted the penalty.
Alvarez - 6: Worked hard across the front and back down the flanks.
Paredes - 4: Erratic at times and caused panic at the back for Argentina.