2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals – Netherlands v Argentina
The 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-finals are finally here! With only 8 teams left, things are really starting to heat up after many scorching performances and a historic upset in the eighth-final.
But things are sure to come to the boil when two of the tournament favourites face off in a real World Cup classic when the Netherlands take on Argentina on Friday at the Lusail Iconic Stadium at 19:00 GMT.
Run like the Clock?
The Netherlands’ path to the quarter-finals has been as straightforward as they come. With 2 wins in the group tournament – against Senegal and Qatar – and a draw against Ecuador, the Netherlands topped Group A with 7 points and 5 goals, conceding only once.
In the eighth round, they faced a young USA team with a lot to prove. England were expected to hold on for a goalless draw – and more importantly, as there were better chances from both – the USA were expected to rise to the challenge and make life difficult for the Dutch.
However, this was not to be as the Dutch managed to take full control of the game from the start, playing quick passing football and not allowing the USA to see much of the ball.
In fact, the first goal of the match was scored by a fantastic team player, where after a total of 20 passes, Dutchman Dumfries sent a fantastic ball into the box with a clinical first touch for Memphis Depay to score.
After the second goal, which was practically a carbon copy of the first, the USA managed to react by taking a goal back, giving them a lifeline back into the game. Their hopes for a turnaround were not long, but soon afterwards Dumfries repelled another chance created from the flanks to give the Netherlands a convincing win and a clinical display in front of goal that certainly gave the Argentine defenders. some nightmares before the match.
From less to more
Argentina entered this World Cup on a 36-match unbeaten streak, only losing their first match against Saudi Arabia in what was surely one of the biggest upsets of the Cup.
However, instead of letting that loss go to their heads and letting it derail the World Cup, the South American giants bounced back with convincing wins against Mexico and Poland, led by an impressive performance from captain Lionel Messi.
It was not much different when they met a fiery Australian team in the eighth-final, where Lionel Messi was able to celebrate his 1,000th win by opening the scoring with a low, left-footed shot between 3 defenders that left the goalkeeper helpless.
Julian Alvarez went on to score a sensational goal, fending the Austrian goalkeeper off the ball, which resulted in a free kick through on goal from Alvarez. However, the match was not over yet, as Australia managed to come back thanks to a tremendous shot that was not even on target.
Lionel Messi was at his best in the 2nd half, putting on a show for the fans and making 3 good passes to his teammates on the golden plate. Unfortunately, reminiscent of their 2014 World Cup campaign, all these chances were ruthlessly wasted, leaving Argentina dangerously close to a last-minute draw, only stopped by a superb Martinez deflection.
Although the 2-1 scoreline doesn’t really tell the story of how comfortable Argentina were in this match, unless they can take their chances against the Netherlands, they will surely suffer.
A battle of two giants
Football fans around the world are surely salivating at one of the shittiest games the World Cup has managed so far.
While the Netherlands boast a better overall record against Albiceleste – with four wins and two draws in nine matches, when it comes to World Cup football they are level, each with 2 wins and 1 draw.
The last time they met was in 2006, when Sergio Romero’s penalty-kick heroics led to Argentina taking the lead.
However, a very telling statistic is that the Netherlands have not won a quarter-final since 1994, while Argentina have only been knocked out once in each of their last 4 cups.
Moreover, the Netherlands now come into this match on an impressive unbeaten run, which has now grown to 19 games.
Expect a lot of excitement and close calls in this match as both attack-minded teams will be pressing for the win. With odds of 2.50 to go, this surface looks very tempting!