Netherlands and Argentina battle for a place in the semi-final of the World Cup on Friday evening. The clash kicks off at 19:00 BST.

Louis van Gaal’s side has faced criticism for their style of play but Oranje is still in the tournament and going into the quarter-final on the back of their best performance so far.

Goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumfries saw the Netherlands see off the USA 3-1 and they are now only three wins away from their first ever World Cup triumph.

However, their toughest test yet awaits on Friday when they face Lionel Messi and Argentina, who have recovered from a shocking defeat to Saudi Arabia. They saw off Mexico and Poland to top the group and then they defeated Australia to book their place in the last eight.

The winner of this clash would meet the winner of Brazil v Croatia in the semi-finals.

Team News

Van Gaal has a fully fit squad to choose from for the clash and he is expected to make little or no changes from the side that defeated the USA. Davy Klaassen came off against USA at the break and he may lose his spot to Steven Berghuis.

Frenkie de Jong and Nathan Ake are two of the players that would miss a potential semi-final if booked.

Possible Netherlands line-up: Noppert, Dumfries, Blind, Van Dijk, Ake, Timber, De Roon, De Jong, Berghuis, Gakpo, Memphis

Angel Di Maria is back fit and he should come back into the starting eleven. Rodrigo De Paul has also recovered from a knock to start.

Ex-Ajax duo Nicolas Tagliafico and Lisandro Martinez are likely to start on the bench.

Possible Argentina line-up: Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna, Fernandez, De Paul, Mac Allister, Di Maria, Messi, Alvarez

Odds

Netherlands 13/5 Draw 21/10 Argentina 6/5

Previous Meetings

The two nations have met seven times in total and five times at World Cups.

Johan Cruyff’s group stunned Argentina 4-0 at the 1974 World Cup but four years later the South American’s got their revenge in the final. Two extra-time goals condemned the Netherlands to their second World Cup final defeat in a row.

In 1998, the Netherlands overcame Argentina in the quarter-finals 2-1 thanks to a stunning Dennis Bergkamp goal. In 2006 a group stage meeting ended 0-0.

The last meeting was in the 2014 Semi-final when the match ended 0-0 only for Argentina to go on to win on penalties.

Can the Netherlands overcome Argentina?

The Netherlands go into the game unbeaten in 18 ties under Louis van Gaal and they should not be afraid of anyone, not even Lionel Messia.

Argentina has been hot and cold at the tournament so far and if the Netherlands can defend strongly then there is no reason why they cannot book their place in the last four.

Expect a cagey affair with a lot at stake and don’t be surprised if it ends in another penalty shootout between the two nations.

It is exciting to see the Netherlands back in a World Cup quarter-final and let’s hope there is more to come after Friday.

COME ON ORANJE!!




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