Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said his team’s loss to Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Friday was “incredibly painful”.

The Dutch rallied with two late goals from Wout Weghorst to force extra time after Argentina led 2-0 through efforts from Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi, who scored from the spot.

But Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis watched in agony as their spot-kicks were saved in the shootout by Emiliano Martinez as Argentina won 4-3 on penalties, setting up a semifinal with Croatia.

“We failed to score the first two penalties so that’s when things become really hard and tough. It is a matter of being lucky, a lottery,” said Van Gaal.

The 71-year-old was also coach of the Netherlands when they were beaten on penalties by Argentina in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.

“This is the second time we lost to Argentina this way. Two World Cups with the same coach for the Netherlands.

“I asked the players to train and to practice penalties, so I have nothing to reproach them for. To come back and equalise... to lose on penalties is unfortunate.”

Van Gaal returned for a third spell in charge in August 2021 after undergoing treatment for aggressive prostate cancer.

The Oranje are unbeaten in 20 games under Van Gaal, including Friday’s match, but he confirmed he would be stepping down from the job as planned.

“The boys are feeling despondent. They gave everything and I’m incredibly proud. I had a wonderful time,” he said.

“It is incredibly painful to see how we’ve been eliminated because I did everything I could to prevent this.”