Zee Media Bureau/Dattaraj Thaly
Brasilia: After Germany`s stunning demolition of hosts Brazil on Tuesday, Lionel Messi`s Argentina will seek to join the Europeans in the final when they take on 2010 runners-up the Netherlands in Sao Paulo later on Wednesday.
Four-times World Player of the Year Messi has scored four goals en route to the last four and after Brazil`s exit Argentine will be greedily eyeing a possible clash with the Germans at the legendary Maracana stadium on Sunday.
The Dutch began their campaign with a 5-1 drubbing of holders Spain and will be looking to their talisman Arjen Robben, who has three goals at the finals, to help break down a well-drilled Argentine defence.
After their blistering start, Louis van Gaal`s side have cut it fine on the way to the semi-finals and needed a penalty shootout to get past Costa Rica in the last eight having only beaten Mexico by a controversial last-minute penalty in the previous round.
Argentina will welcome their first choice left-back Marcos Rojo back into the side after he missed the quarterfinal through suspension. Sergio Aguero is also expected to take his place in the line-up after he sat the last match out through due to an injury.
Netherlands have had to deal with an injury worry of their own as skipper Robin van Persie was considered to be a doubt for this match by Louis vn Gaal. The forward will undergo a late fitness test and he should be fit to participiate in this match.
After impressing with a string of consistent performances, van Gaal mayr eward young Memphis Depay with a start in this big match. The Dutch team is expected to be the same as that played against Costa Rica in the semis. Penalty hero Krul will start from the bench.
Argentina will again look to Messi to help them get past a tough Netherlands team that will be set up to suffocate the Barca star by van Gaal. Sabella has said reaching the semi-final is like a victory for Argentina. That of course is far from the truth and the willy old man just tried to take the pressure of his players.
Argentina will have to keep an eye on Robben who has been in stupendous form for the Dutch. Depsite him being criticised for his diving antics, the winger showed no signs of not going down on even the slightest contact in the quarterfinal.
The outcome of this match will be decided by how van Gaal stops Messi and what tactics Sabella employs against Robben. Irrespective of the outcome, the second sem-final is a tantalising prospect for all the neutrals.
With agency inputs