World Cup 2022: Shearer: “Argentina showed Brazil how it’s done!”

World Cup 2022: Shearer: “Argentina showed Brazil how it’s done!”

Both Friday’s quarterfinals at the World Cup went into extra time and finished with a penalty shootout with Croatia and Argentina progressing to the semifinals where they will meet to decide a 2022 finalist.

Much has been said already about the way Brazil approached their penalty shootout versus Croatia with Neymar being held to eventually fire the final, fifth penalty. But, it wasn’t meant to be because Croatia managed to take the win before Neymar even get the chance to prove that he is one of the best penalty-takers in the world.

Many critics were astonished that Neymar was chosen to take the last shot claiming that the team’s best player always must be the first one to shoot just to set the tone. But now, former Brazil coach Tite decided that Neymar was needed for the last try if that ought to be potentially a winning one.

Argentina coach Scaloni didn’t take the same route. Against the Netherlands, he chose to put Lionel Messi first, and he made the right choice. PSG star took the reigns and did his job, just like he managed to do it in the regular time of action.

Alan Shearer thought that was the difference between Argentina winning their penalty duel, and Brazil not.

“For me, that was the key for Argentina. Messi is their best penalty taker, their star player, and he took the first penalty, made it, and that just set the tone early on in the shootout.”

“There is a difference when you take the penalty during the game, and in a shootout. It happened to me in 1998 against Argentina.”

Shearer was also impressed with the way 35-year-old Messi played the game against the Netherlands.

“The way he moves with the ball, and makes a split decision to take the all-important pass, and then run with the ball. It was just an incredible moment,” Shearer praised Messi.

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What is next for Argentina?

Many would agree that Argentina should have won the game before the final whistle leading until the 112th minute of added time, with the Netherlands scoring an exceptional goal to make it even at 2-2. It was a moment when the Argentine players lost their focus, and that is something they will have to be careful of when playing the resilient Croats.

Argentina met Croatia four years ago in the group stage, and the Croats demolished their South American opponents by 3-0. Croatia took the group and eventually lost in the final to France. This time around, Croatia is a bit different, but with the same leader. Just like Messi is for Argentina, Croatia’s eternal leader is 37-year-old Luka Modric who is still playing at an incredible level going for a total of 530 minutes during this World Cup playing in every game.

Croatia led for 46 minutes during this World Cup, and that happened in a 4-1 group win against Canada, but still managed to get into the semifinals because of their incredible mental strength, composure, and resiliency.

Brazil took the lead in the last minute of the first extra period before Bruno Petkovic leveled three minutes before the end of the second extra period. Croatia, then, once again did their job perfectly during the penalty shootout scoring in every attempt while Brazil was denied firstly by incredible Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic, and then the goalpost when Marquinhos missed.

Croatia and Argentina will meet in the first semifinal on Tuesday while the other will be between the winner of Morocco versus Portugal and England against France.

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