Argentina claimed a dramatic 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Netherlands on Friday to claim a spot in the World Cup semifinals, but the match will be remembered for the 18 yellow cards and one red dished out by Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz to set a record.
In a thrilling match, after going 2-0 ahead through Lionel Messi's goal and assist, Argentina threw away their lead in a late collapse in regulation time. Netherlands equalised in the 11th minute of second-half stoppage time as Wout Weghorst netted when midfielder Teun Koopmeiners stepped up to take a free kick on the edge of the box before sliding a pass under the wall for the striker to slot home.
Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez saved two attempts in the shootout, as Lautaro Martinez scored the clinching penalty, but tensions boiled over as the teams clashed repeatedly throughout in what has been termed the "Battle of Lusail."
At one point Leandro Paredes blasted the ball in the direction of the Netherlands bench, before Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk responded by knocking Paredes to the ground. Defender Denzel Dumfries was handed two yellow cards in quick succession during the penalty shootout.
In total, 15 players on the field received a card -- a World Cup record.
"I don't want to talk about the referee because you can't be honest," Messi, who confronted Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal after the match, told Argentine TV. "If you talk they sanction you; FIFA must think about it, they can't put a referee who isn't up to the task for these instances."
Full list of yellow cards from Netherlands vs. Argentina:
- Walter Samuel (31') - Argentina coaching staff
- Jurrien Timber (43')
- Marcos Acuna (43')
- Cristian Romero (45')
- Wout Weghorst (45+2')
- Memphis Depay (76')
- Lisandro Martinez (76')
- Steven Berghuis (88')
- Leandro Paredes (89')
- Lionel Scaloni (90') - Argentina manager
- Lionel Messi (90+10')
- Nicolas Otamendi (90+12')
- Steven Bergwijn (91') - ET
- Gonzalo Montiel (109') - ET
- German Pezzella (112') - ET
- Denzel Dumfries (128') - Penalty shootout
- Denzel Dumfries (129') - Penalty shootout (2nd yellow = red)
- Noa Lang (129') - Penalty shootout
Here's a list of some of the other World Cup games to have seen plenty of cards. Note: The first time red and yellow cards were used was at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.
Before the 2022 World Cup, the record for the most yellow cards came in the 1994 round-of-16 clash between Nigeria and Italy, where there were just nine.
Cameroon midfielder Marc Vivien-Foe and Germany forward Carsten Jancker were booked inside 10 minutes, while Germany's Carsten Ramelow was sent off in the 40th minute for repeated fouling. Nine cards came in the first half, then another seven as Cameroon substitute Patrick Ruffo was sent off on 78 minutes.
The infamous "Battle of Nuremberg" in the 2006 round of 16 technically included 16 yellows, but four of these were second yellows that led to a red.
It took only two minutes for Netherlands midfielder Mark van Bommel to get himself into the book and four more yellow cards came out before the half, including a second for Portugal's Costinha for handball.
That means 11 more yellows followed in the second half as a touchline melee erupted in the 50th minute, then another melee came as Khalid Boulahrouz was sent off in the 63rd minute after fouling Luis Figo.
With both sides down to 10 men, Deco was sent off in the 78th minute and Giovanni van Bronckhorst in the 95th.
Oh and the game finished 1-0 to Portugal.
Another game involving Netherlands, this time it was the World Cup final and it went to extra time too.
Five cards came in the first half, with Nigel de Jong's famous karate kick on Xabi Alonso the pick of the bunch. Four more came in the second.
With the match 0-0 after 90 minutes, Netherlands defender John Heitinga received a second booking on 108 minutes before Andres Iniesta gave Spain the win with a goal four minutes before the end.