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.
The first of the Round of 4, and Brazil would host Germany. The last time Germany lost to a South American side, it was the 2002 World Cup Final vs Brazil. Neymar and Silva were unavailable, Bernard and Dante replaced them. Germany started with Klose leading the line, who was looking to make history. What followed at Belo Horizonte, was astounding. It was the worst performance seen in Brazil since Pitbull’s opening ceremony, with Germany blasting Brazil to smithereens with a 7-1 win.Continue reading
Germany take on Brazil in the first semifinal of this very intense World Cup. A rematch of the 2002 World Cup, this is the Clash Of The Titans. The Germans often falter after reaching the latter stages of the tournament and will be hoping to prevail. Brazil, the most successful team ever, will be wanting to try and win their 6th World Cup in thier own backyard. However, they will lack the force of Neymar Jr. and Human Wall Thiago Silva in this match and Germany look to capitalize on this. However, Brazil are a force to be reckoned with as they have proved so by beating almost every team they have faced. They loss of Neymar may just provide more motivation for the Selecao to go on make history. Maybe, just maybe, they might be galvanized by this loss and will progress. Germany are not staunch favourites for this epic, but they markets have seen a stunning 54.2% favour for the 2002 World Cup finalists. Thomas Muller would be wanting to catch up on the now eliminated James Rodriguez and will need to be at the top of his game. Germany never really moved out of the first gear to see of Germany and Brazil had to grind out the victory and broke a sweat or two. FootballsToYou is inclined towards Germany, but with the Camel predicting Brazil, we too, are confused.
The game was arguably one of the most one sided during the previews. The verdict? Netherlands were clear favourites and would trample Costa Rica. That being said, the game was Netherlands’ to lose, as Costa Rica had achieved plenty already and if they were to go home tonight, they could do so with their heads held high. Wesley Sneijder made his 16th appearance at a World Cup Finals, a Dutch record. Memphis Depay earned a start and for Costa Rica, suspended Duarte was replaced by Acosta.Continue reading