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World Cup

  • July 9, 2014
  • • 21:00
  • • Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, São Paulo
  • Referee: C. Çakιr
  • • Attendance: 63267
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Argentina won 4 - 2 on penalties

Netherlands-Argentina Preview: Aguero and De Jong fit for semi-final clash

Netherlands-Argentina Preview: Aguero and De Jong fit for semi-final clash

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Dutch midfielder and Manchester City striker have both recovered from injury to feature for their respective nations, as they battle it out to face Germany or Brazil in the final

Wednesday’s second semi-final brings together two of the world’s most enthralling footballing nations in a repeat of the final from the last South American World Cup in Argentina in 1978.

Netherlands have confounded many people’s expectations by reaching the last four with a squad of which very little was expected. Whereas their reliance on a large number of Eredivisie-based players was thought to be a weakness, the impact of many of the lesser names has been a real strength in their run to the semi-finals.

Coach Louis van Gaal has needed such a boost from the supporting cast too, with pre-tournament injuries to Kevin Strootman and Stijn Schaars followed by the loss of Nigel De Jong in the early moments of the last-16 clash against Mexico.

Having stunned many by bringing on Tim Krul to make the winning penalty saves against Costa Rica in the last round, Van Gaal is set to hand first-choice keeper Jasper Cillessen the gloves once more against Argentina in what is likely to be an unchanged starting XI.

Van Gaal's opposite number Alejandro Sabella has no such luxury, with Angel Di Maria missing due to a thigh strain which is likely to rule him out of the rest of the tournament.

While Sergio Aguero returns after a leg muscle injury, Sabella must choose whether to give Ezequiel Lavezzi a start or bring in one of Fernando Gago or Maxi Rodriguez in Di Maria’s place.

Marcos Rojo’s return from suspension should see him start ahead of Jose Maria Basanta, while Federico Fernandez could again miss out in favour of Martin Demichelis.

NETHERLANDS: Cillessen; Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi; Kuyt, Wijnaldum, Sneijder, Blind; Robben, Van Persie, Depay.

ARGENTINA: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo; M. Rodriguez, Gago, Biglia; Messi, Aguero, Higuain.

Players to watch

R. van Persie

Position: Attacker

Games: 6

  • 4
  • 2
  • 0
He may not have hit the height of his powers since returning from suspension, but Robin van Persie remains key to the Netherlands’ hopes of making a second successive World Cup final.

The Manchester United striker’s qualities in and around the area mean that a convincing display will be needed in the Argentine defence if he is not to return to form just in time to fire the Dutch into Sunday’s showpiece.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 7

  • 4
  • 0
  • 0
He may not have scored in the last two matches, but Lionel Messi remains the axis around which this Argentina side revolves.

With team-mates admitting he is their best hope of success, there is little doubting that another star showing from the Barcelona man in the semi-final will see the
Albiceleste through to a first final appearance in 24 years.

Editor's Prediction

The loss of Angel Di Maria to injury is certainly a blow for Alejandro Sabella, but the return of Sergio Aguero and continued presence of Lionel Messi mean they still start as favourites.

The Dutch have had a magnificent run thus far, but have yet to face anyone as in-form as the Barcelona star. If Van Gaal’s men are to match their 2010 exploits to reach a second successive final, they will need to rediscover the performance levels of their opening fixture against Spain in Salvador.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Netherlands

Argentina

Wins
2
2
1
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Netherlands NLD
Netherlands Netherlands
Draw
Argentina ARG
Argentina Argentina
51%
43%

Top 3 Predictions

Netherlands NLD
1 - 2
Argentina ARG
Netherlands NLD
2 - 1
Argentina ARG
Netherlands NLD
3 - 1
Argentina ARG

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