Tomorrow evening sees the second semi-final as the Netherlands take on Argentina for a place in the World Cup final. The Netherlands come into the game having edged through on penalties in the quarter-finals after a 0-0 draw against Costa Rica. The Dutch began the tournament in fantastic form, shocking many as they beat reigning champions Spain 5-1, with Van Persie and Robben both grabbing a double. They followed that up with a 3-2 win against Australia, Robben and Van Persie again on target as they came from 2-1 down to win 3-2 thanks to a goal from Memphis Depay. A 2-0 win against Chile in São Paulo ensured a 100% record in the group stages, although it took until the 77th minute to break the deadlock through Leroy Fer. Depay grabbed his second of the tournament in stoppage time to ensure the result. Louis Van Gaal’s side were again forced to come from behind in the second round, as they were trailing to a Giovanni Dos Santos strike until 2 minutes from time. Wesley Sneijder pulled things level before a Huntelaar penalty deep into stoppage time secured a 2-1 win against Mexico. Despite struggling against Costa Rica, the Dutch had scored 2 or more in their previous 5 appearances, and will definitely cause a threat going forward, although their defence may face the biggest challenge yet against Messi and co.
Argentina got off to a slow start in the tournament, as they stuttered to a 2-1 win against Bosnia despite being far from impressive. Messi grabbed one that day, and his goal deep into stoppage time proved the difference against Iran as they again failed to impress in a 1-0 win. The final group game was another victory for the Argentinians, although it was yet another hard fought battle as they twice let the lead slip against Nigeria. Messi grabbed another two, but it needed a goal from Marco Rojo in Porto Alegre to ensure they went through with a perfect record. It was a single goal that was to prove the difference again as they brushed aside Switzerland in the last 16, as with penalties looming Real Madrid star di María broke the deadlock. After taking an early lead against Belgium last time out, many expected Argentina to finally find their feet, but again it was the solitary goal from Higuaín that proved the difference. The one bright spark for Argentina has, unsurprisingly, been Lionel Messi. He currently has 4 goals to his name in this tournament, and could prove to be the difference again as Argentina look to reach the final for 5th time. The two sides met in the 2006 World Cup, where they drew 0-0, while back in 1998 the Netherlands managed a 2-1 win after some brilliance from Dennis Bergkamp. I expect this game to be decided by individual brilliance again, and my bet is on Lionel Messi to score and Argentina to win in this one.Share this: