With a rampant Germany awaiting in the final, the second semifinal sees fellow South American side, Argentina lock horns against a defiant Netherlands side.
With a rampant Germany awaiting in the final, the second semifinal sees fellow South American side, Argentina lock horns against a defiant Netherlands side which in turn faces selection dilemmas going into their key encounter on Wednesday.
The match is already billed to be a clash of the brilliance between key players – Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben.
After Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of Brazil on Tuesday, it remains to be seen whether this clash turns out to be another goal fest. But sad news for the ‘Oranje’ is that their skipper and lead striker Robin van Persie is a doubt due to a stomach problem, while Argentina must do without influential midfielder Angel di Maria due to a thigh strain.
Coach Louis Van Gaal also has doubts over key defender Ron Vlaar, who has a knee injury. But midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong made a surprise return to training on Tuesday, a week after being ruled out of the tournament with a groin problem. Arjen Robben still remains a threat going forward but watch out for midfielder Wesley Sneijder who can operate from the centre of midfield and could be the cog of the Dutch’s attack engine.
On the other hand, Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella has indicated that winger Enzo Perez is likely to come in for Di Maria, while left-back Marcos Rojo is available again after suspension. Sergio Aguero is also ready to start on the bench.
Two-time cup winners Argentina, who last reached the final in 1990, will be relying on their star man, Leo Messi to play the anchor role. The Netherlands, meanwhile, are eager to rediscover their group-stage bluster and prove they are finally ready to claim football’s greatest prize after agonising final defeats in 1974, 1978 and 2010.
It is, however, the only time in eight encounters that they have bettered Holland, who memorably won a 1998 World Cup quarter-final in France thanks to a majestic goal by Dennis Bergkamp. Going by the form of both the teams, this cannot turn out to be massacre as we witnessed last night but just might be a game of sheer brilliance. Either it will be Messi delivering that magic or Arjen Robben’s pacy drive on the wing to win it for Netherlands. But here, Argentina has just been ‘too good’!
Prediction – Argentina to win 2-1