The second quarter final of the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup comes into full display when two-time winners Argentina take on the Netherlands in a rematch of the 2014 semifinal in Brazil which saw the Albiceleste edge over the Dutch.
Argentina and the Netherlands managed to book a spot in the last 8 after beating Australia 2-1 and USA 3-1 respectively. The Copa America winners eye the greatest prize in football history after their Skipper Lionel Messi stated emphatically that this would be his last world cup.
For the Dutch, they remain this time without the ever-lethal trio in Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder but a younger squad mixed with the experience of Virgil Van Dijk, Memphis Depay and Danny Blind, they look to make a huge impression alongside promising players like Frenkie De Jong and Cody Gakpo.
These two teams went toe to toe for the 1978 world cup with Mario Kempes of Argentina leading the Albiceleste to victory that eventually crushed Dutch hearts. This time Louis Van Gaal leads his team on the touchline in the quest to make another Top four finish at the world’s biggest stage after guiding the team to a 3rd place finish at the 2014 edition in Brazil.
WHERE AND WHEN?
Where: Lusail Stadium.
When: 7:00 GMT
Date: 9th December 2022
These two sides play astonishing attacking football and have the ability to hold onto leads whenever they find themselves in front especially in the dying moments of games.
Argentina have shown that they punish mistakes and laps in concentration of their opponents. Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez has scored in two successive games and has shown his desire to fight for the number 9 starting role ahead of Lautaro Martinez. Coach for Argentina, Lionel Scaloni continues to make changes to his side with Molina coming on for Montiel and Enzo and Acuna replacing Leandro Paredes and Nicolas Taglafico in the starting XI.
The efficiency of Rodrigo De Paul, Emiliano Martinez and Angel Di Maria will be absolutely crucial in the Albiceleste’s chances of making it into the final four of this year’s Mondial.
However, the 2010 finalists Holland find themselves more organized side as a unit other than Argentina who mostly rely on the efficiency of Lionel Messi and clutch moments of their goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. The Dutch will look to have control in midfield with Klassen and Frenkie De Jong although Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez and Rodrigo De Paul will make it exceedingly difficult for the to have their day.
Also, with Memphis Depay fully fit, this attacking Dutch side look even more dangerous with wingbacks high up the pitch in Denzel Dumfries and Danny Blind yet care must be taken at the back by Nathan Ake and Virgil Van Dijk to prevent Lionel Messi from being a thorn in the flesh of the Netherlands.
Louis Van Gaal has his whole squad available after the return of Jeremy Frimpong and Stephan De Vrij from an ankle injury and a knock respectively.
Scaloni however faces major concerns in Papu Gomez’ sprained ankle while Angel Di Maria struggles with a Quadriceps injury.
Netherlands XI: Noppert, Timber, Van Dijk, Ake, Dumfries, De Roon, De Jong, Blind, Klaasen Gakpo, Depay
Argentina XI: Martinez, Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna, De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister, Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez
PLAYER TO WATCH
Argentina – Lionel Messi
Netherlands – Cody Gakpo