Netherlands v Argentina: Favourites may need to dig deep
Netherlands v Argentina betting odds, tips and predictions
Netherlands and Argentina have shared some famous World Cup meetings down the years and meet again with a place in the semi-finals at Qatar 2022 at stake.
There is usually little to choose between the two teams but Argentina start as clear favourites as they close in on more silverware following last year’s Copa America success.
Friday’s match at the Lusail Iconic Stadium kicks off at 7pm and is live on the BBC.
Saudi scare in the past
Argentina’s World Cup campaign has been almost faultless with the exception of a dismal 45 minutes against Saudi Arabia.
They collapsed to a shock 2-1 defeat in that opening match despite having taken a half-time lead through Lionel Messi and were in danger of elimination.
That would have been unthinkable for a team that arrived in Qatar on a 36-match unbeaten run and they have since shown their qualities with routine wins against Mexico, Poland and Australia to reach the quarter-finals.
Their 2-1 win against Australia in the round of 16 was not without a few scares, though, and they owed victory to a crucial save from Emiliano Martinez in the closing moments of added time to keep out an effort from Australia’s teenage substitute Garang Kuol.
High praise for his defenders 🙌 @Budweiser Player of the Match, Lionel Messi, singled out Argentina's centre-backs following their Round of 16 victory against Australia 🇦🇷 #ARGAUS @budfootball #POTM #YoursToTake #BringHomeTheBud pic.twitter.com/tM78gAKJZ8
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 4, 2022
Messi said: “I’m very happy for taking another step forward, achieving another objective. It was a very difficult match, we knew it was going to be this way.
“We knew it was going to be a very physical match and they were very strong. We had a setback with their goal but that’s the World Cup for you. Matches are always difficult and what’s important is you win.”
Dutch defence no pushovers
Louis van Gaal has been criticised for the Dutch style of play but has guided the Netherlands into the last eight on their return to the World Cup, having failed to qualify four years ago.
They were one of just three teams to collect seven points during the group stage as they topped a pool featuring Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar, conceding just one goal.
A centre-back pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Nathan Ake makes them hard to break down while at the other end, Cody Gakpo scored in all three group games and fit-again Memphis Depay netted the opener in a 3-1 victory against the United States in the round of 16.
Van Gaal was critical of the performance against the Americans, saying: “In the first half we were dispossessed so much and it was not necessary. That’s simply not acceptable at a World Cup.
“If you play top-notch countries, you simply can’t make those mistakes. In the second half they did a much better job I think even though we scored fewer goals. Nonetheless we were all very, very pleased and it gives us incredible confidence.
“I think we have big chances here. We still have three matches to go. I’ve been talking about this for a year that we can become world champions.”
The World Cup meetings in 2006 and 2014 both ended goalless and a cagey contest is expected in what looks the toughest test that either team has faced.
Subs can give Argentina the edge
If the match goes the distance, Argentina’s strength in depth could make the difference.
Depay is yet to last 90 minutes and back-up Dutch strikers Vincent Janssen and Wout Weghorst are a level below his ability so the Netherlands may have their backs to the wall in extra time.
The South Americans, in contrast, had the likes of Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martinez on the bench last time out.
For our Netherlands v Argentina predictions, we’ll take 9/1 for Argentina to win in extra time.
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All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publication