The atmosphere was euphoric and the noise was deafening as Argentina took on Germany, in order to be crowned World Champions. Germany started with young Kramer while Di Maria and Aguero started from the bench. The stadium that was being overlooked by Christ the Redeemer was covered in the Albiceleste’s white & blue stripes and Germany’s white and red. It was set to be a cracking game and we were in for a treat.
Heroes, villains, upsets, heartbreaks, glories, controversies… Brazil 2014 has seen it all. We look back at the past month of footballing action, and more.
It started with Pitbull, but got better. It had been snowballing into one ‘big fiasco’ and the critics had sharpened their blades as the days grew near, but the moment Neymar pushed the ball forward to get the tournament underway the cynics were forced into retreating. Their swords were returned to the scabbards and nothing but football made headlines.Continue reading
The second semi final was thought to be one of the most evenly matched tie seen in the World Cup since a long time. Louis van Gaal’s overachieving Netherlands versus Alejandro Sabella’s gritty and superb Argentina. After Germany humiliated Brazil, this match had a lot of expectations. Netherlands welcomed back Nigel De Jong, whose return couldn’t have been timelier. They also continued with Janmaat on the bench and Mr. Versatile Dirk Kuyt started at right wing back. Argentina continued with with their firing front line and welcomed Enzo Perez to the side. This match would be won in midfield and the tactical nous of both managers would be instrumental. Who would join the Germans at the Maracana?
The Netherlands have played 8 matches against Argentina in total. The Dutch won 4 times and scored 13 goals. Argentina scored 6 and won just 1 match, although this was a important one: the final of the World Cup in 1978. A Messi inspired Argentina have won every game and have shut critics with their results. Although they have been far from convincing, they deserve to be here in the Last 4. The Albiceleste saw of Belgium in the Quarter Finals and will welcome back Sergio Aguero for this crucial game. The Netherlands have been the surprise packages, with not many expecting the Oranje to make it so far. They have been convincing in their displays, with the only falter being versus Costa Rica, when they couldn’t open up a very strict defence and had to win it with penalties, which they did, emphatically. They will welcome back defensive midfielder Nigel De Jong and will be relying on Arjen Robben to fire them to their second final in a row. Robin van Persie is a doubt for the Dutch, while Angel Di Maria is set to miss out too. This battle will need to live up to the hype and will the teams will look to emulate Germany who ruthlessly wrecked Brazil at Belo Horizonte.
Aaron Johnson’s views:
Prediction: Argentina 1 – 3 Netherlands
Argentina’s Man To Watch Out For: Rejuvenated striker, Gonzalo Higuain
Netherland’s Man To Watch Out For: Dutch Speedster, Arjen Robben
Argentina’s Weak Link: Absence of Di Maria piles the pressure on Messi even more
Netherland’s Weak Link: Lack of a world class defender to deal with the likes of Messi and Higuain
Dr. Joe N.H.’s views:
Prediction: Argentina 3 – 1 Netherlands
Argentina’s Man To Watch Out For: Lionel Messi
Netherlands’ Man To Watch Out For: Arjen Robben
Argentina’s Weak Link: Over reliance on Messi and the disability to compete with the pace of Robben.