As the Netherlands faced off against Argentina in the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup, all eyes were on star centerback Virgin Van Dijk who was facing off against Argentina legend Messi. Known for his defensive prowess and leadership on the pitch, Van Dijk was expected to play a key role in the match.
Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan for Van Dijk and the Dutch side. After a hard-fought match ended in a 2-2 draw, the match went to a penalty shootout to determine the winner.
As the first of the designated penalty takers for the Netherlands, Van Dijk stepped up to the spot with confidence. But as he struck the ball, it was saved by Martinez, leaving the Dutch side with a crucial missed opportunity.
Van Dijk recently opened up about the heartbreak he felt after missing the penalty. “I wasn’t able to sleep after the game,” he admitted. “Unfortunately I missed an important penalty. It hurt me a lot.”
The pain of the missed penalty was compounded by the fact that it ultimately cost the Netherlands a place in the next round of the tournament. “That evening and night was very hard,” Van Dijk said. “But after that I was back with my family to shut myself off from the football world.”
For Van Dijk and the Netherlands, the missed penalty will no doubt be a painful memory. But with the resilience and determination that has made Van Dijk one of the top centerbacks in the world, there is no doubt that he will bounce back and continue to make a positive impact on the pitch.
Van Dijk will be 35 when the next World Cup comes around, but he will look to be part of hopefully another World Cup run with the Netherlands.