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10 Dec, 2022 12:18

Messi hits out at Dutch coach after hot-tempered World Cup clash (VIDEO)

Argentina triumphed over the Netherlands in a heated World Cup quarter final
Messi hits out at Dutch coach after hot-tempered World Cup clash (VIDEO)

Lionel Messi was highly critical of the Netherlands’ approach in a heated FIFA World Cup quarter final, which set a new record for the most yellow cards issued in a single game in the tournament’s history.

Argentina triumphed in a penalty shootout after two dramatic late goals from Dutch substitute Wout Weghorst brought the game to extra time and, ultimately, penalties – but speaking after the clash, the Paris Saint-Germain star hit out the Netherlands for resorting to what he suggested were crude, long-ball tactics to draw level.

[Dutch coach] Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put on tall people and hit long balls,” said Messi, who assisted Argentina’s first goal with a sublime through ball to Nahuel Molina and later doubled their advantage from the penalty spot.

However, the late intervention of the 6ft 6in Weghorst threatened to break Argentine hearts in what was a bad-tempered clash which saw a remarkable 18 yellow cards issued by match referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, several of which came after the Dutch substitutes’ bench reacted angrily to Leandro Paredes powering the ball towards the Netherlands dugout after fouling Nathan Ake.

Remarkably, just one player – the Netherlands’ Denzel Dumfries – was given a red card after the conclusion of the penalty kicks.

I don't want to talk about the referee because you can’t be honest. If you talk they sanction you, FIFA must think about it, they can't put a referee like that for these instances, they can't put a referee who isn’t up to the task,” Messi added afterwards.

Messi was also the source of some controversy after he celebrated his goal during regulation time by cupping his ears in front of the Dutch bench in what was thought to be a reference to former Argentina and Barcelona midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme, who did the same to Van Gaal while both were at Barcelona, while he was involved in a dispute with the Dutch boss at the time.

Messi also added that he feels the spirit of Argentina’s last World Cup winning captain, Diego Maradona, is looking down on the current squad in their bid to emulate the 1986 victory in Mexico.

Diego is seeing us from heaven. He is pushing us and I really hope this stays the way until the end,” said Messi.

Messi and Argentina will now progress to Tuesday’s FIFA World Cup semifinal against Croatia, with the winner to play either Portugal, Morocco, England or France in next Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final.