Messi and Argentina Face Uphill Task against Nerdy van Gaal’s Netherlands

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Today is a clash of history as two times World champions Argentina take on three-time finalist, Netherlands, in the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The venue is the Lusail Iconic stadium and it will be a repeat of the 2014 semi-finals clash in Sao Paulo Brazil.

In that encounter, Argentina edged the Oranjé on penalties after playing 120 minutes without a goal from either side and fans will be hoping that goals rain in this encounter as it was also goalless when both teams met in the group stage of the 2006 tournament in Frankfurt Germany.

Despite recording major victories against the Netherlands, it will interest you to know that Argentina have never beaten the Netherlands inside 90 minutes in Nine meetings (friendlies included).

It’s also going to be youth vs Experience in the dugout as 44 year-old Lionel Scaloni, who is leading Argentina to his first major tournament since their Copa America triumph will be up against 71 year-old Louis van Gaal.

He is also no stranger to mind games and it has already started, with van Gaal suggesting that, Lionel Messi’s lack of defensive effort is an advantage for Netherlands and it makes him Argentina’s weak link.

However he admitted that Messi is the most dangerous creative player in this World Cup tournament.

The Netherlands Coach was able to keep Messi quiet in 2014 although it counted for little as Argentina advanced through on penalties, but he’d be hoping achieve even more against the seven times Ballon d’Or winner tonight.

Meanwhile, Messi is in red hot form and despite missing a penalty against Poland, the Argentine has gone on to register three goals and one assist, second behind Kylian Mbappe on five goals and two assists.

Messi has also found the back of the net in three of the four games he has played so far.

He is expected to be joined up front by Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria, and it will be somewhat personal for Di Maria who once named van Gaal as the worst manager he has ever worked with following their torrid time together in Manchester United.

Netherlands have also been in fine form and have a massive threat in Cody Gakpo, who has also notched in three goals and has seen his stock rise drastically as top teams as now jostling to sign him from PSV.

Gakpo will have alongside him the regular suspect, Memphis Depay with Davy Klaassen operating behind the duo.

They have also been watertight at the back, conceding only twice in this tournament with Nathan Ake and Virgil Van Dijk marshaling the back line.

Netherlands will need everything to go their way when they take on Argentina tonight, it will be an encounter that football neutrals will enjoy.

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