Argentina Adverse To Dutch Delight

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Sergio Aguero is likely to return from a thigh injury for Argentina. Image courtesy of

Netherlands Flag

Netherlands v Argentina

Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
Thursday July 10 – 6:00 AM (AEST)

Argentina Flag

The Netherlands  and Argentina  have a spot against Germany in this year’s World Cup final to play for when they battle in Sao Paulo on Wednesday morning (AEST).

The Netherlands were frustrated in their quarter-final match with Costa Rica, and required penalties to book a showdown with Messi and co. The Dutch were wasteful in front of goal on Sunday - Wesley Schneider hit the bar twice and Robin Van Persie could have had a hat-trick on another day. Coach Luis Van Gaal produced a managerial-masterstroke in that match, bringing off goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with seconds remaining in extra-time, giving benchwarmer Tim Krul the responsibility of saving the penalties. The second choice shot- stopper made the most of the opportunity, saving two spot kicks and ensuring Oranje progress into the semi-finals.

A lot of attention throughout the tournament has been on Bayern Munich playmaker Arjen Robben. There’s no doubting the 30-year-old’s skill and ability, with his electrifying pace netting him three goals and an assist so far. However, the manner in which he dramatically dives when given the slightest of touches from defenders throughout the World Cup, has been rightly frowned upon universally. Mexico was knocked out as a result of a contentious decision from a challenge on Robben inside the penalty box, and he was up to his tricks again against Costa Rica. The referee appointed for this match, however, is the same one that missed the infamous Suarez bite, and he may not be drawn to Robben’s theatrics.

Although Argentina’s performances have been mostly underwhelming, it seems as though they are getting better and better the further the tournament progresses. Gonzalo Higuain, who scored four goals in South Africa, finally found the net against Belgium on Sunday. The first-half goal, his first in this year’s World Cup, proved to be decisive as Argentina went on to shut out their opponents to record a 1-0 win. Angel Di Maria was the hero to knock out Switzerland in the round of 16, however the Real Madrid winger picked up a knee injury in the quarter-finals and will miss Thursday morning’s vital clash. Di Maria is a big loss for the Argentinians, but striker Sergio Aguero is expected to return from a thigh injury which has kept him out of his side’s past two matches. Despite the whole “who’s in, who’s out” on the injury front, one Argentinian who could prove to be the difference (again) is certain to be playing. Lionel Messi hasn’t scored since the group stages, but he’s looked ever so dangerous every time he gets the ball around the opposition penalty box. As long as Messi is on the pitch, the impossible is possible.

The Netherlands were awarded for finishing atop of Group B with a relatively easy route to the semi-finals, and although they’ve made hard work of it, they’ve got the job done. Thursday morning will undoubtedly be their toughest assignment yet, with Argentina hitting top gear at the right time. Argentina may look to score early and hold that lead, but don’t rule out a Dutch comeback by any means. Ten of their 12 goals in the tournament have arrived in the second half, including seven in the final 20 minutes. This is sure to be an entertaining, attacking match, but the South Americans might just have too much class for the Dutch to handle.


Nick's Tip: Argentina to win 2-0

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