Lionel Messi's quest to win World Cup moves into the semi-final after Argentina beat Netherlands 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal against Netherlands.
Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their second goal against Netherlands. (Reuters)

Argentina have beaten the Netherlands in a penalty shootout after a dramatic 2-2 draw to reach the World Cup semi-final.

Dutch substitute Wout Weghorst scored two late goals early on Saturday, including a stoppage-time leveller, after Argentina had led 2-0 through Nahuel Molina and Lionel Messi's penalty.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez was Argentina's hero in the shootout, saving two spot-kicks as they won 4-3 on penalties.

Argentina will play Croatia in the semi-final on Tuesday.

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Messi mesmerises with skills

It is only the second time Argentina have 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.

When Lautaro Martinez's penalty hit the net, Messi didn't head to the striker, unlike the rest of the team, but sprinted to his goalkeeper and jumped into his arms.

Messi had produced a mesmerising piece of skill to set up the opening goal for Nahuel Molina in the 35th minute and then converted a penalty in the 73rd to make it 2-0 with his fourth goal of this year's World Cup.

It took him to 10 goals in the World Cup, tied with Gabriel Batistuta for the most for Argentina, and 94 goals in total in his 169 international games.

The game was taken to extra time after a goal deep in second-half stoppage time by Wout Weghorst, who entered as a substitute in the 78th and made it 2-1 five minutes later.

It was the latest second-half goal scored in a knockout-stage game at a World Cup and was cleverly worked, with Teun Koopmeiners feinting to curl a free kick into the area only to play it short and deceive the Argentine defense. Weghorst took a touch, held off his marker and slotted home a finish on the stretch.

Thed game featured 17 yellow cards, including one for Messi, who had blood coming from his upper lip at one stage.

Enzo Fernandes hit the post near the end of extra time and was the only Argentina player to fail to score in the shootout.

The loss ended 71-year-old Louis van Gaal's third stint in charge of the Netherlands.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies