Argentina beat the Netherlands in a penalty shootout in the early hours of Saturday after a dramatic 2-2 draw to reach the World Cup semifinals.

Dutch substitute Wout Weghorst scored two late goals, including a stoppage-time leveller, after Argentina had led 2-0 through Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi’s penalty.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was Argentina’s hero in the shootout, saving two spot-kicks as they won 4-3 on penalties.

Martinez said “passion and heart” propelled his side into the World Cup semifinals – and he was delighted to bring joy to his struggling country.

Martinez was one of the heroes of the quarterfinal, saving the Netherlands’ first two spot kicks in the penalty shootout.

“We are in the semi-final because we have passion and heart. We are excited, just like the people,” Martinez said.

“The first thing that comes to mind is emotion. I do this for 45 million people,” he added. “The country is not having a good time due to economic issues and giving joy to people is the most satisfying thing at this time.”

(with AFP inputs)

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