The Argentina national team can see the finish line that will allow them to give Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi the storybook ending by having the veteran forward lift the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
However, the South American nation needs three more wins, and standing in their way is the Netherlands, who will have their gigantic 6’8” shot-stopper, Andries Noppert, between the pipes to keep a clean sheet.
While Noppert has to prepare for all the shots coming his way on Friday, he says that if a penalty kick sees him go one-on-one with Messi, the 28-year-old would be up for the challenge.
“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,” Noppert told talkSPORT. “For sure he’s good, but for sure, I can catch the penalties.”
Although it wasn’t a penalty kick situation, Noppert did stop American forward Christian Pulisic in a one-on-one circumstance early in the Netherlands-USA matchup. An early goal by Pulisic might have led to a different result, but the Dutch keeper stepped up.
Furthermore, Messi has already seen one penalty kick stop when Poland’s Wojciech Szczęsny stopped the Argentine in the final group-stage match.