The FIFA World Cup 2014 semi-final face-off between Argentina and the Netherlands looks to be a match which could easily swing in either side’s favour when the two sides compete for a spot in the final on Wednesday, 9 July, at Brazil’s Arena Corinthians in São Paulo. The match kicks off at 22:00 (CAT).
The Dutch come into this encounter on the back of a quarter-final victory that they made look more difficult than it had to when they defeated surprise team, Costa Rica, in penalties last week. Argentina, however, come into this match after defeating the on-form underdogs, Belgium, by way of a stunning first half goal by Gonzalo Higuin, which should leave Allejandro Sabella’s squad feeling confident, owing to the fact that they have finally displayed some proof that their game-plan does not require the sole goal-scoring responsibility to fall upon Barcelona star, Lionel Messi’s, shoulders.
The Netherlands will be looking to book themselves a spot in the finals so that they can finish what they started when they made it to the finals in the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, but were defeated by Spain. While the Argentine attack is their main threat, the Dutch will no doubt be looking to create their goal scoring opportunities by making use of their strong counter-attacking players. However, even though Argentina is a side known for their attack, the South American’s defence has not let through a goal in their two knockout matches.
Argentina are looking like favourites at this point, being ranked at number 5 in FIFA rankings and having won two World Cup Finals. They have also finished as the runners-up on two occasions. The Netherlands, on the other hand, are currently ranked 15th according to FIFA rankings. They have also never won a World Cup Finals title, but have finished in second place three times, the most recent being in the 2010 tournament.
This match will be the fifth face-off between the two sides at a FIFA World Cup competition, however the teams have played against each other no less than eight times. Of those eight, the Netherlands have won four and only lost on one occasion.
According to past World Cup performances, Argentina are the favourites, however if head-to-head results are considered, Netherlands clearly dominate. This semi-final is very evenly matched and a near impossible result to predict, which has been displayed even by betting companies, which have placed the two sides at near identical odds.