When Argentina and the Netherlands meet for their semifinal tie at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo this Thursday, July 10 (Wednesday, July 9 BRT), get set for an entertaining confrontation between two of the tournament’s most electric playmakers.
Lionel Messi is in the middle of every Argentine goal this tournament. When not taking matters into hands, Messi is a big piece of the Argentine attack. The Barcelona star currently has four goals to his name, but he has yet to find the back of the net in the knockout stages.
However, he was a conduit on the goals that propelled La Albiceleste to the semis. Messi’s decisive run through the middle of vigorous Switzerland defense set up Angel di Maria’s winner in the round of 16 while his run through heart of the Belgian ranks ruffled things up that allowed Gonzalo Huguain to blast his first goal in the tournament.
The controversial Arjen Robben continues to be the driving force behind the Netherlands’ success this year. Robben scored all of his three goals in the first two group stage games, but he has been the kinetic force that has constantly kept opposing defenses on their toes whenever he has the ball.
Although his contact with Rafael Marquez in the first knockout stage meeting with Mexico will forever be etched in history, Robben’s persistent and bruising runs along the sides never fails to distract defenders, thus opening up opportunities for his teammates to score.
It seems like Argentina and the Netherlands will go wherever Messi and Robben will be able to carry them. And they will have a heavy sway on the Argentina-Netherlands betting odds:
There is also considerable World Cup history between Argentina and the Netherlands.
The teams drew in their group stage meeting in 2006. While the Dutch won more, having triumphed in the second group stage in 1974 and in the quarterfinals in 1998, the Argentines won bigger when they won the 1978 title over the Europeans.
There will be no Johnny Rep and Mario Kempes this time while Gabriel Batistuta and Dennis Bergkamp are now in blissful retirement. The matchup this midweek will circle on Messi and Robben, two maestros who are eager to steer their respective teams to that dream match next week at the famed Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
Check out Bodog Sportsbook for all the World Cup odds.