Back Argentina to reach the World Cup by beating the Netherlands in São Paulo
Louis van Gaal is apparently a football genius for substituting one goalkeeper for another ahead of an imminent penalty shoot-out. Meanwhile, in the real world, the Netherlands were unable to score against Costa Rica during 120 minutes of football.
The Costa Ricans rode their luck to keep the Dutch at bay before finally succumbing to defeat as Tim Krul kept out a couple of spot kicks and it’s the European side who find themselves squaring up to Argentina for a place in the final.
This Netherlands team wasn’t certain to get out of a group containing Spain and Chile although they have manoeuvred their way through the section, scored two last-gasp goals to turn a tie against Mexico on its head before that penalty triumph against Costa Rica.
Coral bookmaker go 12/5 about a win for the Dutch and Van Gaal will be pleased enough that Angel Di Maria is missing for Argentina through injury, although trying to stop Lionel Messi will be another matter.
Nigel de Jong might return to the centre of midfield to play the role of reducer, with Georginio Wijnaldum starting against Costa Rica although a tough tackler might be required alongside Wesley Sneijder.
Argentina is a 29/20 chance with bet365 to win this contest and the impressive thing about La Albiceleste is that they’re actually defensively quite stout, stopping Switzerland and Belgium in their tracks.
Although both of these teams suffered an inferiority complex against the Argentines, the bottom line is that the Dutch are a similar sort of team to their European counterparts and they will have to spend a good deal of the game without the ball.
Lionel Messi has scored and created goals throughout the tournament, with Ladbrokes going 4/1 about the Barcelona forward breaking the deadlock, with the superstar having found the net in all three group games.
Messi also provided that moment of magic for both winning goals against the Swiss and Belgians, although Angel Di Maria will be missing for the South American side and it might be a game too soon for Sergio Aguero.
A tight game clearly looks to be on the cards as there was just one goal in the 180 minutes of football players by these sides in the last round, with No Goalscorer always a more preferable option at 13/2 than backing the 0-0.
We’re expecting the game to be level by the break and Draw HT Argentina FT is on offer at 9/2 with Paddy Power, with that man Messi looking backable at 13/10 with the same firm to find the net at any stage.