FIFA 2014 Semi-Finals Predictions: Match #62 Argentina vs. Netherlands
By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | July 7, 2014 11:35 AM EST
Argentina 4 Netherlands 2 (Score After 120 Minutes: 0-0)
Argentina's national soccer team player Lionel Messi rests next to teammate Gonzalo Higuain (R) during a training session ahead of their 2014 World Cup semi-final match against the Netherlands, in Vespasiano July 6, 2014.
Match number 62 is the second semi-final match between Argentina and The Netherlands. Argentina won against Belgium to enter the semi-finals, whereas The Netherlands beat Costa Rica in the penalty shoot-out to move to the top four.
Argentina: Argentina beat Belgium 1-0 with Gonzalo Higuaín's first goal in the tournament. This was the first international goal he scored since August 2013. This was the fifth consecutive win for Argentina in the World Cup, and it has won every match with one-goal margin. Argentina never looks to be a team that is far superior to its opponent. However, it has always managed to score one goal more than the opposition, which matters the most. Argentina is often accused of being a one-man army with its captain Lionel Messi. He continues to be the one that the team revolves around, but Argentina won its last 2 matches without Messi scoring. Di Maria and Higuaín scored, although Messi played pivotal roles in both the goals. Argentina is also accused of having a weak defence. Strangely enough, it has conceded only 4 goals in 5 matches with 3 clean sheets. Alejandro Sabella always finds enough people in his country to advise him how his boys should play, but he has managed to guide his team pretty well. The team has not been extravagant, but it has done enough so far to deserve its position in the semis. Argentina's "miserly" tactics will now face The Netherlands while it will miss Di Maria due to injury problems.
The Netherlands: Unlike Argentina, The Netherlands has played exuberant football. No matter what the score line is, it has always dominated its opposition. It thrashed the world champion Spain, 5-1. It continued its joyous run against Australia, Chile and Mexico, winning all the games. However, its victory parade faced a roadblock against Costa Rica. Arjen Robben looked like a player with superhuman energy on the field as he ransacked the opposition's defence innumerable times. However, the thing that would matter the most never happened. The Dutch failed to score even once against Costa Rica which defended for life for 120 minutes, while Wesley Sneijder hit the cross-bar twice and Robin van Persie could not finish a few golden chances. The Dutch survived simply because its opposition too failed to score. Costa Rica did not fail to score because the Dutch defended well but because the Central American team did not have enough firepower to test the Dutch goalkeeper. It was no short of a masterstroke from Louis van Gaal when he replaced his regular goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen with the penalty shoot-out specialist Tim Krul who saved a couple to take his team to the semi-finals. Now, the Dutch will face Argentina which has scored in every match it played so far. A lot will depend on how many Oranje can score against the South Americans.
Head to Head
These two teams played 8 times against each other before. Argentina won 1, the Netherlands 4 and 3 of those ended in a draw. There were 19 goals scored in total. The Dutch scored 13 of those and Argentina 6.
Argentina: Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín and Sergio Romero
Netherlands: Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Bruno Martins Indi
Date, Time & Venue
Brazil's time zone is UTC/GMT -3. The match starts at 5 pm (local time) on July 9, which means it is 6 am on July 10 in New South Wales, Australia. The match will be held at Arena de São Paulo in São Paulo.
Argentina's slow tactics will not work in this match. It has to match the Dutch pace. However, it will be more important which team will finish more. Failing to score against a relatively weaker team like Costa Rica is alarming for the Dutch which will score against Argentina anyway. Argentina will manage to score one goal more than its opposition this time as well and win it 3-2.
Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au
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