Argentina take on the Netherlands in the second World Cup semi-final, looking to book a place against Germany.
Well, history repeats itself: just like 50 years ago, Brazil will not win the home World Cup. But this time around it’s especially painful and humiliating to fall 1-7 to Germany in the semis. And yes, there was no Neymar and no Thiago Silva, but 7 conceded goals is just too much for the five-time champions.
But life and the World Cup certainly go on and there’s another semi-final scheduled for tonight: Argentina v Netherlands. Argentina will now be tasked with trying to represent the South American continent in the final, besides trying to win the trophy of course.
The Albiceleste are two-time World Cup champions and will certainly want to add a third title on Sunday, but first they have to beat the Netherlands for a place in the final. The Dutch on the other hand have been in the final three times, but never won it, so this might just be the year when they finally make it.
The road to the semi-finals
The second World Cup semi-final will answer the question who’s meeting Germany in the final
• Online sportsbooks in the Netherlands are preferring Argentina to Oranje
• Argentina are looking to win their third World Cup title
• The Netherlands have never lifted the trophy
Argentina come to the semi following a very unconvincing 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarters. However, their attack did look much better than in previous matches and that might be the reason why they are considered to be the favorites at online sportsbooks in the Netherlands with 2.40 odds compared to a line of 3.30 for Holland.
The Albiceleste stopped looking like a one-man (Lionel Messi) team and with brilliant performances by Angel Di Maria and Ezequiel Lavezzi, and of course the winning goal from Gonzalo Higuain showed, were actually a pretty solid squad capable of going all the way. Naturally, those who bet on sports in the Netherlands would prefer to support Holland, but the odds favor Argentina.
Alejandro Sabella will have to do without the injured Angel Di Maria in the semi, but Sergio Aguero is back on the squad after he managed to recover from his injury. Moreover, today is Argentina’s Independence Day and this will most certainly serve as an extra boost for the Albiceleste.
Netherlands on the other hand just managed to squeeze past this tournament’s surprise – Costa Rica. The quarter-final went all the way to penalties and a clever goalkeeper substitution by Louis van Gaal practically sealed the win for the Oranje.
Argentina and the Netherlands have met only 8 times in official matches with the Dutch securing 4 wins compared to only 1 success for Argentina and 3 draws. The goal difference is also impressive: the Netherlands scored 13 against 6 for the Albiceleste.
Comments from the managers
Alejandro Sabella for Argentina had the following words to share: “After 24 years, this is a good tribute to this squad – they will go down in history as one of the best four teams in the world and we will see if they can go one step more.”
He went on to add about Lionel Messi: “I felt he played a wonderful match. It’s not only scoring goals, it’s having possession, taking out three opponents and every move he makes is a sign of hope for us and endangers our opponents.”
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal also spoke to the media: “I only saw one half of the Argentina match. The beginning was in favour of Argentina and after that, it was Belgium who dominated. I thought Belgium was the better team in the first half. Argentina have strong individual qualities. If the gentleman next to you says Argentina always attacks, well that was not the case against Belgium. Not in the first half.”
Betting on the game and the teams’ form
Argentina are coming to the semi on an amazing form with W W W W W including their 1-0 success over Belgium in the quarters. The Netherlands have also won their five last matches including the quarter-final win on penalties over Costa Rica.
The only trouble for Alejandro Sabella is Angel Di Maria’s injury which rules him out of today’s match. Otherwise there are no suspensions of further injuries and Sergio Aguero is back on the team. The most probable line-up for Argentina will include: Romero, Zabaleta, Garay, Rojo, Dimichelis, Gago, Perez, Mascherano, Messi, Lavezzi, and Higuain.
The Netherlands will have to do without Nigel De Jong suffering from an injury, but there are no other suspensions or injuries for Louis van Gaal to worry about. Expect the following line-up for the Oranje tonight: Cillessen, Blind, Indi, Vlaar, Janmaat, de Vrij, Wijnaldum, Guzman, Sneijder, Robben, and Van Persie.
As for betting under Dutch gambling laws, most sportsbooks favor Argentina with 2.40 odds, while the Oranje get a line of 3.30 to advance to the final. The draw after 90 minutes will pay at 3.25. If the game will be decided in extra time, the bookies will pay at 6.50, and there’s a 6.00 payout in case the match is taken to penalties.
Lionel Messi is of course the number 1 favorite to score first with 4.33 odds from Bet365. His Dutch rival Robin van Persie gets 6.50 odds to find the back of the net first, same as Sergio Aguero. Arjen Robben and Gonzalo Higuain get 7.50 odds to strike first for their respective teams, while Ezequiel Lavezzi and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar also get equal odds of 8.50 to do the same.