When Argentina takes on Netherlands in the second semifinal of the FIFA World Cup 2014, the only question that needs to be answered at the end of the match would be if the power of Messi alone is enough to propel Argentina to their 5th final in 5 attempts, ahead of the strong team of Netherlands, who have also entered the semifinal for the 5th time and are eying their 4th final, second consecutive one after 2010 World Cup. With Brazil already trounced, the entire America would root for Argentina, while Netherlands would aim to take their fierce rivalry against Germany to the next level. Who would be smiling at the end!!
2014 Football World Cup: Schedule and Results in Indian Standard Time
Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G, Group H
FIFA World Cup 2014: Points Table, Goal Statistics, Goal Scores, Groups and Team Qualification
History and Records: History of All Previous Editions, History of Hattricks, Who Reached Top Four in Previous Editions!!
Journey So Far in 2014 World Cup
- Argentina and Netherlands won all the three matches of their respective Group F and Group B. Argentina edged past Bosnia and Herzegovina 2-1 due to the own goal by debutants, Iran 1-0 and Nigeria 3-2, with Messi scoring 3 of the 4 goals they scored.
Netherlands ruled its group as it routed defending champion Spain 5-1, edged past Australia 3-2 and then defeated Chile 2-0. Robben and Persie scored 3 goals each.
- Round of 16: Argentina managed to sneak past motivated Switzerland by a goal (1-0) in the extra time as the only time Messi could free himself from the defenders, his run with the ball resulted into his famous goal scoring opportunity for Di Maria.
Netherlands snatched win from defeat as in the last 5 minutes of the game, including the injury time they came from behind to defeat Mexico 2-1.
- Quarter Finals: Argentina was at it’s worst best as Messi was again crowded by the defenders. But the goal by Higuan in the 8th minute was enough to defeat Belgium, who appeared at loss in the QF.
Netherlands had a tough time against the rampaging Costa Rica as after the goalless draw they could convert all to win on penalties 4-3.
The two teams have not met each other much as they are playing only for the 9th time. In the last 8 matches
played, Netherlands have dominated winning 4, losing only one and drawing 3. They have scored 13 goals, while Argentina could score only 6 goals.
em>World Cup Records
- They have met thrice in the World Cup.
1974: 2nd Round Group: Def Argentina 4-0
1978: Final: Lost to Argentina 3-1 in extra time
1998: QF: def Argentina 2-1
2006: Group: Drew 0-0
Argentina: One Man Army!!
In the 5 matches they have played, focus has been on Messi. He is always crowded with defenders. Despite that he has 3 goals and 1 assist to Di Mario that got them the crucial QF win. The team does not appear much different from Brazil that was completely dependent on Neymar Jr. Others have failed to create opportunities and convert without Messi being part of a move. Luckily for Argentina, despite being heavily guarded by opponents in all the last five Matches, Messi has taken time but found the way out to get Argentina the winning goal. Overall that implies he is in the form of his life. The concern is the remaining 9 players on the field. Defence needs sharp improvement and to convert goals Messi needs support all the time. Overall unless Aguero joins the team, it will be again completely Messi show.
Netherlands: Coach and His Robben-led Pupil
Van Gaal has appeared to be touching gold with his every move. The biggest of them is so far the change of goalkeeper just before the final whistle for the quarter final match against Germany. The strategist van Gaal claims they are concentrating on team Argentina instead of Messi. His men, the trio of strikers Robben, Persie and Sneijder have good number of goals against their names. As a team they have the second highest goals scored so far. But since their first win, the goals have dried up. They are attacking and dominating still. Yet, where are the goals!! Knockouts cannot be won without scoring goals.
Verdict: Blue or Orange!!
Overall the stadium may be covered in Blue with the supporters of Argentina. Both have reached the semifinal for the 5th time. Argentina has never lost the semifinal match in 4 attempts. Netherlands lost the semifinal in 1998 World Cup. Higuain for Argentina is a good support for Messi in the absence of Di Mario. Netherlands have lot of them to assist Robben. Argentina defence needs a big mending. If that happens, and the struggle of Dutch forwards continue, Messi just needs to net a goal to reach their 5th final. Otherwise Netherlands is strong, too strong, but are not firing in the last few matches. Robben is the only hope but he has failed to score for last some matches.
Messi has lot of expectations, playing at “Home”. And he will not disappoint the fans who want to see Argentina in final.