While most football fans were gripping their armrests while watching the drama unfold in Qatar, there was major controversy brewing ahead of the upcoming Netherlands-Argentina quarterfinals contest.
Certainly, this will be an attractive match-up and it will be the sixth time these two teams meet in a World Cup with the Dutch holding a slight 1-2-2 advantage. The last two games ended in scoreless draws (2014 and 2006) though since the Brazil 2014 game occurred in the semifinals, a shootout took place with Argentina advancing to the Final.
Argentina’s lone win was the most important, coming in the 1978 Final in Buenos Aires. Holland’s two victories came in 1974 (in a second round group-stage match) and in a memorable 1998 semifinal that featured Dennis Bergkamp’s wonder goal.
But the polemic garnering so much attention was the announcement by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands that she would be rooting for The Clockwork Orange on Friday. What’s the big deal, you say? Well, Máxima Zorreguieta was born in Buenos Aires …
Numbers-running at the World Cup
The number of hat tricks scored at the World Cup after Gonçalo Ramos netted three times for Portugal in their 6-1 rout of Switzerland. Ramos filled up the old onion bag thrice on his very first World Cup start. The last player to achieve that feat was Miroslav Klose in Korea/Japan 2002 against Saudi Arabia in a group-stage match. Harry Kane recorded the previous World Cup hat trick, in a Matchday 2 group-stage contest against Panama at Russia 2018.
39 years, 283 days
Pepe’s age as the oldest player to score in a knockout game. The Portugal defender found the back of the net in minute 33 against Switzerland.
21 years, 169 days
Gonçalo Ramos’ age as the youngest Portugal player to ever score in a knockout game. See above.
World Cup caps for Sergio Busquets, the most-ever for a Spaniard. Unfortunately for the Barcelona man, his final World Cup play might have been a missed penalty kick.
straight Round of 16 victories for Brazil after the team’s comfortable 4-1 triumph over South Korea on Monday. The last team to defeat O Canarinho in a Round of 16 contest was Argentina in Italy 1990. “Los Albicelestes” bested their South American rivals 1-0 with a goal from Claudio Caniggia.
Most goals for Portugal in a knockout game, overtaking the mark set in the Lusitanos’ 5-3 win against North Korea in an England 1966 quarterfinals match-up.
The number of World Cup penalty shootouts that Spain has take part in, tied for most with Argentina. “La Furia Roja” has lost four of those 5, breaking a tie with England and Italy each of whom has lost three penalty kick shootouts. Spain
The number of overtime games in which Croatia has played. The Kockasti has advanced each and every time, three by penalty shootout.
The number of African teams that has made it to the quarterfinals before Morocco upset Spain from the penalty spot on Tuesday. Before “The Atlas Lions” earned an invitation to the Elite Eight in Qatar, only Cameroon (1990), Senegal (2002) and Ghana (2010) had advanced out of the Round of 16 at a World Cup.