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'Messi is human, I can catch the penalties' - Netherlands keeper Noppert 'ready' for potential shootout battle with Argentina star

12:16 EAT 08/12/2022
Messi World CUp 2022
Netherlands keeper Andries Noppert will face Lionel Messi's Argentina next at the World Cup and is feeling confident if the game goes to penalties.
  • Netherlands to face Argentina
  • Noppert ready for Messi
  • Keeper confident about penalties

WHAT HAPPENED? Dutch coach Louis van Gaal raised a few eyebrows by making Andries Noppert his first-choice goalkeeper for the World Cup, but the 6ft 8in Heerenveen stopper has played a key role in the team's run to the quarter-finals. Two-time winners Argentina are up next, but Noppert, who only made his international debut in the Netherlands' World Cup opener against Senegal, is not fazed about the prospect of taking on a forward considered by many to be the greatest ever to play the game.

WHAT THEY SAID: Quizzed on the prospect of a penalty shootout battle against Messi, Noppert told reporters: "I’m always ready for that, and he can also miss, we saw it at the beginning of this tournament, so he’s the same like us – a human. For sure he’s good, but for sure I can catch the penalties."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Messi has been in good form at the World Cup already, scoring three goals so far for Lionel Scaloni's side. He netted a penalty in Argentina's loss to Saudi Arabia but did also miss from 12 yards against Poland in the group stages. Saturday's game will go to penalties if the contest is level after normal and extra time.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Netherlands have lost just one of their nine meetings with Argentina in all competitions (W4 D4), with that loss coming in the 1978 World Cup final. However, the most recent of those four draws did result in a penalty shootout defeat, in the last meeting between the sides in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

WHAT NEXT? The Netherlands face Argentina on Saturday in Qatar. The winners of the match will take on either Croatia or Brazil in the World Cup semi-finals.