LUSAIL, Qatar — Lionel Messi and Argentina survived one of the wildest games of the 2022 World Cup in a penalty shootout. Emi Martinez sprung to his right, then to his left, for majestic saves. Messi converted to give Argentina the shootout lead, and from there, unlike in regulation, the Argentines never looked back.
They blew a 2-0 advantage in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The Netherlands conjured a master set piece goal in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time to send the game to extra time, and eventually penalties.
From the spot, Argentina began with perfection. It led 2-0 and 3-1. It threatened to blow yet another lead when Enzo Fernandez pulled his attempt wide. But Lautaro Martinez converted in the clutch. Emi Martinez, the heroic goalkeeper, fell to the ground in relief. Messi was lifted into the air by teammates.
But before the penalty shootout, for over an hour, the story of Friday’s game was a Messi pass. It was his 34th-minute ascent to another planet. He glanced up and saw six orange jerseys impeding him. So he toggled to a bird’s-eye view. He peered down from on high and picked out an extraterrestrial ball, through four Dutchmen and onto the foot of a teammate, for a 1-0 lead.
He later converted a 73rd-minute penalty. He darted toward his adoring fans and spread his arms as his teammates spilled onto the field. He, and they, were up 2-0 and cruising into the semis.
But then disaster struck. The Dutch threw on Weghorst, and began pumping long balls into his feet and chest and onto his head. It became clear rather quickly that Argentina couldn’t cope.
Weghorst scored the first with a trademark header. Argentina, suddenly, was barely hanging on.
The game became an utter mess, replete with yellow cards and ruckuses. Much of the madness was by Argentina’s design. And until the final minute of stoppage time, it was helping.
The stroke of Dutch genius that nearly ended Messi’s World Cup career started at a standstill. It was the 101st minute of an increasingly frantic quarterfinal here at the Lusail Stadium, shortly after a controversial foul. Argentina had a 2-1 lead and one foot in the semis, but the Netherlands had a dangerous free kick that they absolutely had to score. And they did, just like Argentina had earlier, with a pass that not a soul saw coming.
The undoing began with an overzealous barge by Germán Pezzella into the back of Weghorst. It was Holland’s second free kick in such a position, just wide of center, 25 yards out. The Dutch had smashed the first into the wall. All of Argentina readied for a similar attempt. And Teun Koopmeiners seemed to step to the ball to do exactly that.
But instead, he slotted a brilliant pass to Weghorst, and executed a play that the Dutch had cooked up on the training ground.
It was eerily similar to a play that Argentina had used against England to earn a 2-2 tie (and eventually win on penalties) at the 1998 World Cup.
It was a preconceived answer to Messi’s genius, the collective brilliance to match his individual brilliance. Only the Netherlands couldn’t carry that same energy into extra time and after both teams went scoreless in the added 30 minutes it was time for Emi Martinez to do his thing.
La Albiceleste will play Croatia on Tuesday. And their fans are overjoyed by that. Around 8:40 p.m. here, with 80 minutes until kickoff, many gathered around phones and media-tribune monitors to watch their archrivals, Brazil, duel Croatia from the penalty spot. When Marquinhos struck the post and Brazil lost, the blue-and-white-clad acolytes erupted. Hundreds, perhaps thousands who’d already gathered behind one goal soon broke into song. The path was clear.
Outside the Lusail Stadium, TV reporters went live to Argentina in shock: “Brasil está fuera de Copa del Mundo.” Brazil is out of the World Cup.
They’ll conclude the night by saying: Argentina is very much alive and two steps from Messi’s elusive glory.
Marner shows off custom All-Star Game skates at Maple Leafs practice – NHL.com
Mitchell Marner is going to be skating on sunshine.
The Toronto Maple Leafs forward has some custom skates with a distinct Florida feel for the 2023 Honda NHL All-Star Game at FLA Live Arena on Saturday.
Marner, who will play for the Atlantic Divison team on Saturday, helped dream up the design, which is a beach theme over a pastel pink boot. On each tongue is the All-Star Game logo and inside each boot is the Eastern Conference logo.
Marner’s big customization? Adding his dog, Zeus, to the mix.
“(Zeus) riding a croc, one riding a shark and then just the city outlines,” Marner said. “The white look I think looks sick though. That’s just kind of the idea of them. I wanted to do something cool for the All Star game, don’t really get to customize a lot of stuff as hockey players.”
The True brand skates were on display at Maple Leafs practice on Tuesday. Were they a hit? Well, it depends on who you ask.
“A couple guys said it was pretty juicy looking, a couple guys were chirping me but that’s what usually happens with our team,” Marner said. “I think everyone probably likes them but they’re never going to say it to your face because it’s better just to make fun of you and chirp you. That’s how this team rolls.”
While he won’t be wearing them for a regular season game, trying them out at practice was a must, but did come with it’s challenges.
“(Alexander Kerfoot) and (Justin Holl) were trying to get some scuff marks on them early,” Marner said. “It’s going to happen eventually but I’ll try to keep them as white as possible until Saturday or Friday.”
– NHL.com Independent Correspondent Dave McCarthy contributed to this report.
Former captain Horvat, family pen letter to ‘Our Canucks family’ after trade to New York – Global News
Horvat was dealt to the New York Islanders Monday afternoon for two players and a protected first-round draft pick, after months of contract negotiations proved unfruitful.
“To our Canucks family. The past 24 hours have been filled with an overwhelming number of memories from inside and outside of the rink,” reads the statement in part, posted to Instagram on Tuesday.
“Nine years ago you welcomed us to your beautiful city and province, and before long, you would make sure it felt like home.”
Coming to Vancouver as a 19-year-old and leaving as a 27-year-old father of two, one of the many highlights for Horvat was getting a chance to play alongside Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
“I remember meeting Daniel and Henrik that first year. Through them you could immediately feel the history, and the connection the team had with fans and the community… the respect everyone had for what it meant ‘to be a Canuck,’” he said.
“I was only 19, but I knew I was a part of a special place in the hockey world. I remember being determined to work hard, keep getting better and always bring my best effort.”
He also took time to thank his teammates, coaches, trainers and members of the organization along with the many people behind the scenes.
“To have been your captain, was a tremendous honour for us…It was beyond the wildest dreams of that 19-year-old who just wanted to fit in and earn your respect one day at a time.”
“The city of Vancouver and Canucks fans will always have a place in our hearts. Thank you.”
Vancouver Canucks trade Bo Horvat
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Tom Brady retires from NFL, insisting this time it's for good – CBC Sports
Tom Brady, who won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa, has announced his retirement.
Brady — the most successful quarterback in NFL history, and one of the greatest athletes in team sports — posted the announcement on social media Wednesday morning, a brief video lasting just under one minute.
“Good morning guys. I’ll get to the point right away,” Brady says as the message begins. “I’m retiring. For good.”
He briefly retired after the 2021 season, but wound up coming back for one more year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He retires at age 45, the owner of numerous passing records in an unprecedented 23-year career.
A year ago when he retired, it was in the form of a long Instagram post. But about six weeks later, he decided to come back for one more run. The Buccaneers — with whom he won a Super Bowl two seasons ago — made the playoffs again this season, losing in their playoff opener. And at the time, it begged the question about whether Brady would play again.
Only a couple weeks later, he has given the answer.
Truly grateful on this day. Thank you 🙏🏻❤️ <a href=”https://t.co/j2s2sezvSS”>pic.twitter.com/j2s2sezvSS</a>
“I know the process was a pretty big deal last time, so when I woke up this morning, I figured I’d just press record and let you guys know first,” Brady says in the video. “I won’t be long-winded. You only get one super emotional retirement essay and I used mine up last year.
“I really thank you guys so much, to every single one of you for supporting me. My family, my friends, teammates, my competitors. I could go on forever. There’s too many. Thank you guys for allowing me to live my absolute dream. I wouldn’t change a thing. Love you all.”
Brady is the NFL’s career leader in yards passing (89,214) and touchdowns (649). He’s the only player to win more than five Super Bowls and has been MVP of the game five times.
Famously underrated coming into the NFL — he was picked 199th in the 2000 draft by the Patriots, behind six other quarterbacks, three kickers and a punter — Brady certainly wasn’t expected to become synonymous with greatness. He played in one game as a rookie, completing one of three passes for six yards.
The next year, it all changed.
Brady took over as the Patriots’ starter, the team beat the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that capped the 2001 season, and he and New England coach Bill Belichick were well on their way to becoming the most successful coach-QB duo in football history.
More Super Bowl wins came after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The Patriots returned to football’s mountaintop for a fourth time in Brady’s era a decade later to cap the 2014 season, the start of three more titles in a span of five years.
In 2020, he joined the Buccaneers and won his seventh Super Bowl. He spent his last three years with Tampa Bay, getting them to the playoffs in each of those seasons.
3-time NFL MVP
“I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I’d rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way,” Belichick said in 2021 — shortly before Tampa Bay, with Brady, came to New England and beat the Patriots in a game dubbed “The Return.” “I was very lucky to have Tom as the quarterback, to coach him, and he was as good as any coach could ever ask for.”
Brady has won three NFL MVP awards, been a first-team All-Pro three times and selected to the Pro Bowl 15 times.
Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen finalized their divorce this past fall, during the Bucs’ season. It ended a 13-year marriage between two superstars who respectively reached the pinnacles of football and fashion.
It was announced last year that when Brady retires from playing, he would join Fox Sports as a television analyst in a 10-year, $375 million US deal.
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