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Lionel Messi tees off on Dutch coach, referee after fiery World Cup victory

Lionel Messi and his teammates hung around on the field for 20 minutes, taking turns dancing and jumping up and down in front of their celebrating, scarf-waving fans.

Moments before, the Argentinians secured passage to their second ever semi-final appearance at a World Cup when Lautaro Martinez scored the winning penalty to down a game Netherlands team.

AS IT HAPPENED: FIFA World Cup, day 20

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Perhaps the players’ reaction said it all and typified the intense nature of the clash, that included 48 fouls and 17 yellow cards (excluding coaching staff), which was a World Cup record for single game, courtesy of referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

Within seconds of Martinez scoring the winning penalty, almost every player for Argentina taunted their Dutch rivals, who were watching on intently beside the South Americans at the halfway line.

Before the match went to extra time Leandro Paredes fanned the flames when he booted the ball at the Dutch bench, which led to players from both sides entering the field from the sideline.

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez made two spectacular saves during penalties and after teammate Martinez scored the clinching score, Messi sprinted to the gloveman with his arms outstretched.

Speaking after the match, Argentina players weren’t shy in denouncing Dutch coach Louis van Gaal.

Messi was seen celebrating in the coach’s direction during the shootout while the man who scored the winning penalty, Martinez, slammed van Gaal – both on the field and in a post-match interview.

“Keep your mouth shut, f—ing t–t,” he yelled at the Dutch coach.

“I heard van Gaal saying, ‘We’ve got an advantage in penalties, if it goes to penalties, we win,'” Martinez said.

“I think he needs to keep his mouth shut.”

Messi also had some choice words for van Gaal and was seen approaching the coach and his staff after the match.

He told reporters, van Gaal’s comments in the lead up “disrespected” the team.

Van Gaal expressed confidence going into the match up with Argentina, and when asked about shutting down Messi specifically, the Dutch coach said:

‘It’s not that difficult to come up with an answer as to how to stop him. You might want to block and close the passing lines. I can’t see this creating too much of a hoo-ha.”

Messi obviously heard him.

“It seemed disrespectful to me, that a coach of his caliber declared like that,” the Argentine star said after the match.

“I was angry because for a coach like Van Gaal, with the experience he has, the way he spoke was disrespectful.

“It didn’t have to be like that. It didn’t make sense. I feel like he disrespected the Argentine National Team.”

The bad blood didn’t stop there with reports Messi called out a member of the Dutch camp in an interview: “What are you looking at, fool?”

Reports claim it was directed at Dutch striker Wout Weghorst.

Messi also criticised the state of officiating, taking aim at the whistleblower.

“I think that FIFA cannot use this referee for this type of match because he is not up to the task,” he said.

Goalkeeper Martinez was far more scathing in his review of Lahoz.

“The ref was giving everything for them,” Martinez told beIN Sports.

“He gave them 10 minutes (stoppage time) for no reason. He was giving free kicks outside the box for them two or three times.

“He just wanted them to score, that’s basically it.

Netherlands force extra time with stunning last-second free kick

“Hopefully we don’t have that ref no more, he’s useless.”

The match finished 2-2 and was only taken to extra time after the Netherlands equalised in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time through Weghorst’s two goals.

Before that, Messi had set up the opening goal by Nahuel Molina in the 35th before converting a penalty to make it 2-0.

Argentina will play Croatia in the semi-finals on Wednesday morning AEDT after the 2018 runner-up beat Brazil.

It is only the second time Argentina has reached the last four since 1990. In 2014, Messi was part of the team that lost to Germany in the final.

He looks in the mood to get there again in a tournament that he is turning into his own personal highlight reel.

He delivered a mesmerising piece of skill and vision to set up Molina’s goal, twisting free and bursting forward from central midfield before delivering a no-look reverse pass for the defender to poke in a finish.

His penalty was his fourth goal of the tournament, taking him to 10 overall in the World Cup — tied with Gabriel Batistuta for the most for Argentina. Messi now has 94 goals in total in his 169 international games.

The loss ended Louis van Gaal’s third stint in charge of the Netherlands.

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