After the death of Brazilian football thanks to a cataclysmic 7-1 destruction at the hands of Germany, Wednesday will reveal who will face the European side in the World Cup final.
The Netherlands will be looking to eliminate South America's last chance of glory by knocking out Lionel Messi's Argentina.
Louis van Gaal's team made hard work of their progression to the last four, needing extra time and penalties to see off Costa Rica in the last round.
But Argentina made short work of a disappointing Belgium side in the quarter-finals and won their match 1-0 without ever leaving second gear.
Here are the schedule details for the match and some predictions.
|July 9||Netherlands vs. Argentina||9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET||Sao Paulo||ITV/ESPN||ITV Player/ESPN player||0-1|
Netherlands To Park The Bus
Van Gaal was clear in his approach against Spain for their first match of the World Cup, which resulted in a 5-1 destruction of the 2010 world champions. He set his team up in an unfamiliar 5-3-2, utilising Arjen Robben on the break and daring the Spanish to try and break them down.
Undoubtedly, the new manager of Manchester United will employ the same tactics against Argentina as he looks to contain Lionel Messi and counter against the Albiceleste's very average defence.
Van Gaal is aware that the usual swashbuckling style of the Dutch will need to be curbed in the semi-final if his team are to reach their second consecutive final.
The Netherlands will be looking to put to bed the shame of the 2010 World Cup final, when they tried to kick Spain off the pitch in order to win the trophy. This time, Van Gaal's tactics will cause Argentina immense problems.
The Argentinians have strolled to this stage of the competition with little resistance, but they should meet a wall of orange on Wednesday night.
Messi will be looking to dance through the Netherlands' back five, but it could be Argentina who target Robben with roughhouse tactics.
ESPN's Miguel Delaney highlighted this point, predicting that the Argentina midfield and defence will target the flying Dutch attacker:
Piece on Argentina's sense of fight, as they declare: "Robben doesn't like physical contact, make him feel it" http://t.co/4pvWhMzy6c— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) July 9, 2014
If the Dutch can frustrate the Argentina forwards in the way they did against Spain's attackers, there is every chance we will see an all-European encounter in the final―something many felt impossible due to the tough playing conditions in Brazil.
But the Netherlands have shown along with Germany that quality can take you deep into the tournament, whatever the weather.
Van Gaal's team will park the bus against Messi and Company, challenging Argentina to try and break them down. It is sure to be a classic tactical matchup.
Lionel Messi To Answer His Calling
Just as the other semi-final centred around one player's non-involvement before kick-off, this one is about the other Barcelona superstar at the 2014 World Cup.
However, unlike Neymar, Lionel Messi has been waiting for almost a decade to deliver on the international stage. In the current competition, he has not failed in his quest so far.
Argentina's No. 10 will be hoping to drive forward with the possibility of a Golden Boot at his feet. The player has hit four goals in his five matches in Brazil, per WhoScored.com, but with a strong collective defence, the Dutch will be looking to stop him with sheer numbers.
However, after Neymar crashed out due to injury, it is left to Messi to be the king of the tournament.
As good as Van Gaal's tactics have been in the competition, it will only take one flash of genius from the little Argentinian wizard to destroy their hopes and dreams.
Who will make it to the World Cup final?
On Wednesday night, Messi will answer the calling that was always meant to be part of his destiny. The Dutch are sure to run the South American side very close, but ultimately it will be Messi who can deliver the difference needed.
The game might need extra time, but Argentina have every chance of succeeding where Brazil spectacularly failed.
Prediction: Argentina win 1-0