(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
Lionel Messi admitted his side had suffered to qualify for the
semifinals of the World Cup after a dramatic penalty shootout
against the Netherlands, trend reports citing xinhua .
'We are really happy, we suffered too much, but it's a
quarterfinal in the World Cup, and we suffered what we had to
suffer to qualify,' said Messi.
Messi was the man of the match after setting up Nahuel Molina
for the opening goal and then scoring Argentina's second from the
penalty spot with just 17 minutes left to play.
The game appeared to be over before a late Dutch fightback saw
Wout Weghorst score in the 83rd and 10th minute of injury time to
take it to extra time and penalties.
'We are taking it game after game with the same intensity and
same desire. We want to be protagonists. We are really excited and
really want to win and we need this joy for us and for everyone who
supports us,' he said.
The striker expressed his frustration at the second equalizer
for the Netherlands, saying that Spanish referee, Mateu Lahoz had
added on too much injury time.
'I felt really angry at the late goal. I don't want to talk
about the referee, because you can get a suspension, but people saw
what happened. FIFA have to look at that. They can't put in a
referee who isn't up to the job at this stage,' he said.
However, Messi said that he had confidence his side would
'We knew we had an advantage with Emiliano (Martinez),' he
He then looked ahead to the semifinal against Croatia, who also
beat Brazil in a dramatic penalty shootout.
'Croatia will be really hard. They were better than Brazil at
times and move the ball really well. They are working with the same
coach (Zlatko Dalic) as 2018 and it will be really hard.
'I've said all World Cup, we are enjoying this, the fans, and
taking it step by step.
'I am very happy,' he concluded.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who saved two penalties in the
shootout, said: 'I am very excited. We played for 45 million
people. The people are not having a good time economically and we
are giving them some joy.'
'I couldn't make the saves in 90 minutes, but luckily I was able
to do so in the penalties. I saved two and could have saved a
'We won because we have balls, passion and because we played for
45 million Argentines. We are as excited as they are,' said