Can Lionel Messi and Argentina continue to shine in this competition against a resurgent Dutch side? Argentina recovered from their shock group stage loss to Saudi Arabia to top their group after beating Mexico and Poland by two goals each to reach the round of 16. They faced a tough test against Australia but managed to win 2-1 thanks to a goal from Julián Álvarez and a super goal from Lionel Messi. The 35-year-old Argentine legend is leading his team in this tournament.
Coach Louis Van Gaal had his team playing in his own way, and all the talent was on show against the USA. The Orange won 3-1 with goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfires. Can Louis Van Gaal extend his coaching career by at least one more game by qualifying against Argentina?
The Netherlands vs Argentina: A tight game between two teams who know how to keep the ball
Both teams are yet to achieve great results in the World Cup, while other rivals are more successful. The Netherlands and Argentina will want to have possession, but the Orange will have a more pragmatic approach. This will be an opportunity for the Netherlands or Argentina to assert themselves as final title contenders. This will be the first big test for both teams in this World Cup, against teams of their own level.
The Netherlands vs Argentina: History is in favour of the Dutch
This will be the sixth World Cup meeting between the Netherlands and Argentina. The Netherlands lost only one of their nine games against Argentina in all competitions (4W 4D), in the 1978 World Cup final. However, the most recent of those four draws ended in a penalty shootout defeat for the dutch in the last meeting between the two teams, in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.
The Netherlands vs Argentina: Very Few Changes Expected
The Netherlands are expected to keep the same line-up that won 3-1 against the USA in the round of 16. It will be a 3-4-1-2 with the same back three made of Van Dijk, Aké and Timber, who have played well so far in this World Cup. Frenkie de Jong should be kept in midfield with De Roon, with Klassen playing a more advanced role. Depay and Gakpo should start together. The key roles will be for Denzel Dumfries and Daley blind as playmakers.
Argentina are in a similar position and will try to start their best XI against the Netherlands. Lionel Scaloni looks set to use a 4-3-3 or a variation of 4-3-1-2 with a four-man defence and a midfield made up of Alexis Mac Allister, Enzo Fernandez and Rodrigo De Paul. Adecision will have to be made on whether to include Paulo Dybala due to the performances of Julián Álvarez and the current midfielder. Álvarez is expected to retain his place alongside Lionel Messi in the attacking positions.
The keys to the match: Argentina need a variation, while the Netherlands need a continuation
The Netherlands have started to gain momentum in this tournament, and the wild celebrations after the win against the USA say a lot about that. Yet their playing style is one that is executed to perfection by Dutch players. With Gakpo and Depay, they know they can threaten any defence. But the key will be defending against the main man Lionel Messi, more determined than ever to bring back this trophy to Argentina.
Argentina rely heavily on the performances of Lionel Messi. That is rightly so, but when Argentina show variation in their play, they can be just as devastating. The ability of Julian Alvarez and the promising performances of Enzo Fernandez and Alexis Mac Allister in midfield will be key to Argentina’s victory.
Other Predictions to consider for this Argentina vs the Netherlands at 8pm
Although we predict that Argentina will qualify for the semi-final with a win, the game will be tight. That’s why we predicted that both teams would score, Lionel Messi with a goal to equal Argentina’s top scorer in the World Cup (in one tournament). Cody Gakpo should confirm his dazzling rise with the Netherlands by scoring a goal in the quarter finals.