Football star, Lionel Messi has said that Argentina have felt the presence of the late football legend, Diego Maradona throughout their World Cup campaign, including on Friday December 9, when they beat the Netherlands on penalties to reach the semi-finals.
Messi inspired Argentina into a last four meeting with Brazil’s conquerors Croatia after he set up Nahuel Molina’s opener before the break and added the second from the penalty spot.
But Argentina blew a two-goal lead deep into stoppage time before goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez kept his cool to save the first two Dutch penalties and Lautaro Martinez scored the decisive spot kick to send them through.
An ecstatic Messi, who is still hoping to win his first world cup before he retires said;
“Diego is watching us from heaven. He is pushing us and I really hope this stays the same until the end,” Messi told reporters.
“When Lautaro scored and we qualified there was a huge joy. It was a weight off our chest,” Messi added. “It was a very hard match. From the beginning it was a really tough match, we knew it would be this way.
“We leave that on the pitch with our people. We were really happy and we enjoyed that moment and that’s what we can see here and also in Argentina because people are really happy, they are really excited and they are full of enthusiasm.
“The Dutch team made trouble for us with long balls and a lot of players in the area. In the end they drew and we suffered. But we were able to seal our passage to the semi-finals, which is what we wanted.”