The World Cup 2022 quarterfinal will be booked at the Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday evening after both teams moved past USA and Australia, respectively.
After missing the last edition, Louis van Gaal’s men reasonably started the World Cup campaign, winning their group games. Their latest success was when they overcame the USA 3-1 to book their spot in the last eight.
Contrastingly, the South American champions started with a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia. They later one their remaining games to secure a knockout spot. In their last outing, they got the better of Australia 2-1 to keep their hopes of glory alive.
The Orange will be looking forward to Cody Gakpo proving himself again. His hot streak in front of goal may have ended against the USA, but Van Gaal’s effervescent wing-backs shouldered the goalscoring burden in Saturday’s last-16 battle. So, the striker, who is on the radar of many top clubs, could be back to scoring form against Argentina, which doesn’t have an impressive defence.
Attack-minded Denzel Dumfries is expected to cause Argentina more arm, having provided identical assists for identical goals for Memphis Depay and Daley Blind in the first half against the USA.
Blind, who also provided an assist for the in-demand Dumfries, could also be another headache.
All in all, the Netherlands can get goals from other players.
If they are ruthless, as witnessed in their last match, Argentina may be on the next plane home.
Having reached the last eight in four of their previous five World Cup tournaments, the Netherlands are favourite to progress.
Argentina must also be written off. Their leading man, Lionel, had scored in his 1,000th career match to lead the side here.
One moment from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner could be the difference.
Argentina also have a goal threat in Julian Alvarez and Lautaro Martinez.
But their undoing could be their midfield and defence, which makes the Netherlands look stronger.
Emiliano Martinez, who produced a vital save in the dying minute to send Argentina through to the last eight, will have his hand full definitely.
The last time Argentina got into the last four of the world cup was in 2014, en route to finishing as runners-up. They had lost their last three ties during the previous eight before that in 1998, 2006, and 2010.
European teams have defeated them nine times in a row since the inaugural 1930 edition at this tournament stage.
Although history does not favour Lionel Scaloni’s men, a 13-game scoring streak in all competitions does.
La Albiceleste would hope Messi will lead them to end a barren streak in previous meetings with the Dutch.