Croatia to meet Argentina in semi-finals after Brazil stun
As Neymar's hopes for raising the World Cup with his team were crushed, Messi's were renewed as the Argentine sent his team into the semi-finals.
Croatia managed on Friday to steal a win from Brazil after the Seleção fumbled the penalty shootout between the two following a two-hour-long game that did not see either team scoring a single goal until extra time.
Brazil's Neymar opened the scoring at 105+1', giving his team a lead over their Croatian opponents and a glimpse of hope that the Samba team would make it into the semi-finals. However, with Bruno Petkovic's equalizing goal at 117', minutes before the end of the second half of extra time, the match seemed bleak for the Latin American team.
Marquinhos missed a crucial spot-kick in the shoot-out, hitting the post when he had to score to keep Brazil in it after Rodrygo's earlier attempt had been saved by goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic and Croatia converted all four penalties.
However, though Brazil lost, Neymar's goal allowed him to tie with Brazilian legend Pele's record fo 77 international goals.
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As they advance to the last four, Brazil will have to wait at least another four years before winning a record-extending sixth title, sending Neymar home crying after he left the pitch in tears.
The Brazilian team seemed to want to follow in the same footsteps of its game against the South Koreans, when they celebrated their many goals with choreographed dance moves that seemed to upset some onlookers, though the team that had made it to the World Cup final four years ago before being defeated by France did not give in so easily.
Argentina made it on Friday to the World Cup semi-finals, and they will be facing Croatia, which seemed to be quite the tough nut to crack for the Brazilians, after a strenuous match that saw the Dutch equalizing at the very last minute.
After a bleak match that saw the Netherlands losing for the majority of the time with a goal by Argentina's Nahuel Molina at 35' and another from Messi at 73' delivered via a penalty, the Netherlands hit back hard with its striker Wout Weghorst scoring his team's first goal at 83' before netting another one at 90+11', a minute after the official stoppage time formally ended, allowing his team to advance into extra time.
However, neither team was able to score during the 30 extra minutes despite fierce attacks from both sides, sending the two into a penalty shoot-out.
With a dramatic ending, the Netherlands lost to Argentina, the team who had made it to the World Cup finals two versions ago, after suffering a 3-4 loss during the penalties.
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was the hero in the shootout after the South Americans let a two-goal lead slip in the final minutes of normal time after Lionel Messi had put them on the brink of the last four.
Argentina's win gives a glimmer of hope for Messi, the legend who could be looking at his last World Cup, to reach the finals and finally raise the golden cup with his national team.