Mascherano fearful of Robben and Van Persie threat

The Barcelona midfielder understands the danger posed by the Dutch forwards, and believes fate will decide if they reach the World Cup final

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano has warned his team-mates about the threat of the Netherlands attack ahead of their World Cup semi-final.

The Dutch have been the tournament's outstanding attacking side, with the trio of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder the Oranje's stand-out names.

Louis van Gaal's side reached the final of the 2010 World Cup, only to be beaten 1-0 by Spain, and Mascherano says that fact, along with their quality, makes them particularly dangerous. 

“We know we're playing a team that is the best in countering with the speed of their forwards,” Mascherano said.

“We face a team that is experienced, that is very hungry after being the losing finalists in the last World Cup.

“We will not expect an easy game and it will be even harder than the Belgium match for the quality of its players and the experience.”

Argentina have not reached this stage of the World Cup since losing the 1990 final to Germany in Italy and Mascherano believes fate will decide whether or not they surpass the final hurdle this time around.

"We have to hold onto the dream because we can take Argentina to a place where we haven’t been before. And these opportunities are very rare and we have to take them,” he said.

"This match 24 years ago, which the Argentines played, we were lucky to be part of this milestone - but this increases the expectations of most people.

“Fate will take care of us as we go for the final.”

He added: "We have a unique and wonderful opportunity, and we will live with the dream of being able to reach the final.

"These instances are played with heart and soul, but you won’t reach [the final] if you're not smart enough on tactical issues.”