The World Cup quarterfinals is here. The Netherlands meet Lionel Messi and Argentina. The winner will likely face Brazil in the semifinal. Messi again carried Argentina against a scrappy Australia. Louis van Gaal tactically dissented the United States in the Round of 16, with transition play leading to a 3-1 win. All that despite a flu outbreak. One team is fit, tactically flexible, and the best footballing nation to never win the World Cup. They’re working to change that. The other a Zen group of veteran and youth built around Messi who are trying to win their goat the one trophy he’s missing.
Netherlands vs Argentina Predictions and Best Odds for December 9
Clockwork Orange Run of Form
The Dutch cruised through the group stage with comfortable wins over Senegal and Qatar. Cody Gakpo was clinical with his chances. Their only goal conceded was to Ecuadorian talisman Enner Valencia. In the Round of 16, they played with a lead against the Yanks. Other players stepped up with the midfield limiting ball movement, while Memphis Depay and Denzel Dumfries were good. This was the first game Gakpo did not get on the scoresheet. This was their best performance of the tournament, no question. They’ll need to match that, defensively especially, to stop Messi. This will be the first game where they face a team with the better player that is overall more talented.
Read More: USA Netherlands Takeaways: Mistakes, Fine Margins, and More
Albicelestes Run of Form
It hasn’t been easy for Argentina. They suffered possibly the biggest upset in World Cup history against Saudi Arabia to open the group stage. Messi’s magic carried them in the second half of a tense game against Mexico. They dispatched of Poland to win Group C. They matched up against a much lesser Australia. Messi scored again to deservedly put them up 1-0 at halftime. Some sleepwalking in the second half and poor finishing from the Socceroos saw them avoid extra time 2-1. They’ve still yet to hit their stride in Qatar. Their best moments have come through Messi, similar to the 2014 World Cup, so far.
Head to Head
All-time, they have played each other nine times. Three times in friendlies, the most recent in 2003. they have met in the World Cup five times, including 2014 and 2006. In 2014, they played in the semifinal in Brazil. After no goals through 120 minutes, Argentina bested the Dutch 4-2 on penalties. Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder missed their penalties. Argentina were perfect from the spot. History shouldn’t be taken into account for this game though. They haven’t played each other in over eight years. Messi and Ángel Di María are the only two Argentina players from that game on this squad. Only three players from that 2014 Dutch side are at Qatar: Stefan de Vrij, Dealy Blind, and Memphis Depay.
Netherlands vs Argentina Predictions
Argentina 2-1 in 90 minutes. Messi will have to carry them to victory and he’ll get it done. They have too much quality on the ball up to middle for the Virgil van Dijk and the Dutch defense. Look for van Gaal to again have them set up in a defensive posture. They will cause problems on the counter and have the quality to score goals. But Argentina will have learned their lesson and will not play down to their competition. Until Argentina play an opponent that can outmatch them in multiple areas of the pitch, they’ll be able to survive. Don’t count on either team beating Brazil in the semifinal though.
Current Betting Odds: Netherlands vs Argentina
Sky Bet has Argentina favored at 6/5 with the Netherlands at 12/5 odds for 90 minutes.
Last Word on Football recognizes Qatar’s human rights abuses and instances of corruption taking place throughout the nation and in the background of the World Cup. Learn more about some of the issues surrounding the World Cup here.