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GOAL Landmarks: Are Argentina the masters of World Cup penalty shootouts?

3:13 PM GMT+4 12/12/2022
Argentina celebration Netherlands

Argentina might not have had the best start to their World Cup journey, losing out 2-1 to Saudi Arabia in their opening fixture. However, as the World Cup approaches its end, Argentina are in the semi-finals and are one of the favourites to win the tournament.

They did so after a stirring victory over Netherlands in the quarter-finals, which saw tensions boil over between the two sides. Louis van Gaal’s team had clawed back a two goal deficit to force extra-time and penalty shootouts.

But Argentina prevailed in the shootout, thanks to inch perfect penalties from Lionel Messi, Leandro Paredes, Gonzalo Montiel and Lautaro Martinez. Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez also turned hero by saving two crucial penalties.

The victory took Messi and Argentina one step closer to the holy grail - the World Cup! The win also took Argentina to their fourth World Cup semi-final. But more importantly, the landmark shootout victory made Argentina the most successful team in World Cup history when it comes to penalty shootouts.

Argentina have now won five penalty shootouts in World Cup history, more than any other team. And they have done so in just six attempts, losing just one penalty shootout at the biggest tournament.

Argentina’s first penalty shootout victory came in the 1990 World Cup clash against Yugoslavia in the quarter-finals. They followed it up with another shootout win over hosts Italy in the semifinals. Goalkeeper Sergio Goycochea was the hero in both the shootouts.

The South American team also got the better of England in the 1998 World Cup Round of 16 after the teams drew 2-2 in normal time and extra time. Interestingly, the next win for the Argentinians in a penalty shootout came in the 2014 World Cup semifinals against Netherlands.

The only time they've lost a World Cup shootout was in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Germany.

Their strong record will be a huge advantage for Argentina as they next take on Croatia who have a reputation for dragging their opponents into a penalty shootout. Croatia themselves have reached the semi-final after two back-to-back shootout wins over Japan and Brazil.

Backed by a significant record, can Argentina go ahead and win their first World Cup since 1986? The World is Theirs to Take!