Argentina was practicing on the field in Doha in anticipation of their World Cup semifinal matchup with Croatia.
The South American champions defeated the Netherlands in a bloody quarterfinal on Friday that saw 16 players receive yellow cards and multiple fights break out between the two teams before Argentina ultimately prevailed on penalties.
Argentina got off to the worst possible start to the tournament when they were shocked by Saudi Arabia in their first game. After that, they recovered by defeating Mexico and Poland 2-0 to take first place in Group C.
Before the frantic Dutch encounter, in which Louis van Gaal’s team scored twice late to draw the game at 2-2 and force extra time and penalties, where Argentina ultimately prevailed 4-3, Australia was eliminated from the tournament by a score of 2-1.
Lionel Messi, their icon and captain, scored from the penalty spot and in the shootout against the Netherlands to give him four goals overall in the competition. Only Kylian Mbappe of France has scored more goals, with five.
Messi, 35, will likely play in his final World Cup on Tuesday, when he will mark his record-tying 25th appearance in the tournament.
Messi, who is about to tie the tournament record established by legendary Germany star Lothar Matthaus, has always been a winner, according to manager Lionel Scaloni. He is quite keen and wants to continue playing football, therefore we are very pleased with this.
“We’ll watch to see if he keeps playing or not. We shall continue to savor him. The most essential thing we can do for ourselves and the football community is that.
“Everything will be OK for us if things work out nicely. We have the support of the entire nation. They support us.
But we still have a ways to go. We must participate in important games. The game tomorrow will be highly challenging, so we must give it our whole attention.
The gallery up above contains pictures from Monday’s training session. Click the arrows to advance to the next image, or swipe on a mobile device.