A flood of yellow cards and a game that threatens to escalate briefly: The World Cup quarter-finals between the Netherlands and Argentina not only produces football that is well worth seeing. Above all, the team of superstar Lionel Messi is not particularly sporty after the final whistle.
Even after the final whistle of the toxic card game at the World Cup, the Zoff continued. In focus: Lionel Messi, captain of the World Cup semi-finalists Argentina and Wout Weghorst, former Bundesliga professional, who saved the Dutchman in extra time with a brace in the charged quarter-final duel. The Argentinians then prevailed on penalties.
In an interview with the Argentine broadcaster TyCSports, Messi did not look in the direction of the reporter who tried to ask him a question, but at Weghorst with a serious, angry expression, as the broadcaster reported. "What are you looking at, idiot? What are you looking at, idiot," spat Messi.
Visibly irritated, the reporter tried to calm down the upset Argentine, touched his shoulder lightly and said: "Calm, calm." As Messi explained afterwards, the 19 started to provoke when he came on the pitch - Weghorst wears the number 19, he was substituted on by coach Louis von Gaal in the 78th minute.
Weghorst made it 2-1 in the 83rd minute and made it 2-2 in the eleventh minute of added time. After his first goal, Messi went down on the restart after a Weghorst attack. With 15 yellow cards, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz had handed out more than ever before in a World Cup game.
The situation threatened to escalate when Leandro Paredes tackled an opponent and then threw the ball in the direction of the Dutch bench. There was a pack formation. "I don't want to talk about referees because you can be punished. You can't say what you think," said Messi, who spoke at length with Antonio Mateu Lahoz on the pitch after the first 45 minutes. The referee, who warned Messi a good two years ago in an FC Barcelona game four days after the death of Diego Maradona for a jersey action as a tribute, was not up to the game, said Messi.
But it wasn't just the Argentinian superstar who threw himself into provocations against Oranje. Previously, it was mostly Messi's teammates who didn't turn out to be the best winners. A photo showed some Argentinians gesturing towards the grieving Dutchman in the center circle after Lautaro Martinez's decisive penalty. Some cheered in their direction. Central defender Nicolas Otamendi put his hands to his ears and turned to the Dutch. A gesture that sounds like "What are you saying now?" read.
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez was also critical of the referee in an interview with an English reporter after the game. "It was a difficult game, we controlled it very well," he said. The referee "gave everything for her". The ten-minute injury time had no justification, said the Aston Villa goalkeeper. "He just wanted them to score. Hopefully we don't have that referee anymore, he's useless." The 30-year-old also spoke about Bonds coach Louis van Gaal. Before the game, he said that taking penalties was an advantage for the Dutch and that they could win. Martínez replied: "I think he should shut up."