Lionel Messi (c) of Argentina celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 quarter final match between Netherlands and Argentina at Lusail Stadium on December 09, 2022 in Lusail, Qatar.

The best moments, reactions & memes from Lionel Messi’s angry masterclass

Planet Football โ€ข

The fraught and fierce World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands was the kind of match worthy of its own Wikipedia page. And unsurprisingly, it was Lionel Messi at the heart of it all.

Argentina’s No.10 is playing what’s almost certainly his final World Cup, with this his last chance to lift the most prestigious trophy in football. Watching the player many consider to be the greatest of all time has been utterly compelling in Qatar.

The game itself looked to be coasting along unmemorably. It was Messi’s assist that opened the scoring for Argentina midway through the first half, a sensational pass into the path of Nahuel Molina. He then doubled the Albiceleste’s advantage in the second half.

They were dominant and comfortable, heading towards a routine win, but all hell broke loose when Netherlands boss Louis Van Gaal through on towering strikers Wout Weghorst and Luuk de Jong and changed tack.

Weghorst, who is currently on loan at Besiktas from Burnley, got the Netherlands back into the contest with a well-executed header, and with almost the final kick of ten minutes of injury-time he finished off a cleverly-worked free-kick routine.

Argentina went on to wrestle back control in extra time, but couldn’t find a winner, before eventually triumphing in the penalty shootout.

“Van Gaal says that they play good football, but what he did was put on tall people and hit long balls,” said Messi after the match.

“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.”

The game set a World Cup record for the amount of bookings dished out – 19 – and the feisty antics continued long after the final whistle. Messi has had a reputation as a shy and quiet character, but he’s shown a spikier side and become more of a vocal leader during his time as Argentina captain. That was very much on show at the Lusail Stadium.

Here are all the best moments you might have missed from the brilliant post-match chaos, as well as the best reactions and memes.

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