18. That’s the number many football fans will remember from Argentina’s 4-3 penalty shoot-out victory over the Netherlands.
Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz dished out the highest number of yellow cards, 18, in a World Cup match on Saturday night at the Lusail Stadium. Denzel Dumfries was the only player to receive a red card.
15 players on the field received a card, another World Cup record. The 18 cards were divided equally between Dutch and Argentine players at 8 each and one each for the South American coach Lionel Scaloni and his advisor Walter Samuel.
The First 90 Minutes
Surprisingly Lahoz first reached into his pocket after half an hour, and not even for an on-field player after Samuel had his name taken down. Before full-time with the scores locked at 2-2, 10 players and Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni were booked. That’s 12, in case you needed a reminder.
Juventus defensive midfielder Leandro Paredes caught the ire of the Oranje bench and was lucky to escape dismissal after fouling Nathan Ake and then blasting the ball toward them in the 89th minute. That altercation lit the fuse and the tension became even more hostile between the sets of players and team officials.
Netherland’s winger Steven Bergwijn and Argentina’s Gonzalo Montiel and German Pezzella found themselves in Lahoz’s book.
Penalty Shoot – out
Miraculously Lahoz only dished out a red card to Dumfries after Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez whipped the winning spot kick past Andries Noppert. Dumfries, also at Inter Milan, received two cards within two minutes after reacting to the Argentine players celebrating in the Oranje’s players’ faces.
The beautiful game showed it has an ugly side on occasions, and Lahoz’s subpar performance didn’t help proceedings. His willingness to reach for his card heightened tensions, and allowed players from both sides to push the envelope and get into each other’s faces. The Dumfries red card was a case of ‘little too late.
FIFA stated the Battle of Lusail and said: “The FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Argentinian Football Association due to potential breaches of articles 12 (Misconduct of players and officials) and 16 (Order and security at matches) of the FIFA Disciplinary Code.
“Additionally, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee has opened proceedings against the Dutch Football Association due to potential breaches of article 12 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code in relation to the same match.”