FIFA World Cup

Netherlands vs. Argentina: Last-Minute Live Stream, Preview for 2014 World Cup

Netherlands' players celebrate after winning on penalty kicks the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Saturday, July 5, 2014. The Netherlands won 4-3.  Late substitute Tim Krul, center right, made two saves in a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Costa Rica on Saturday to give the Netherlands a spot in the World Cup semifinals following a 0-0 draw.(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Hassan Ammar/Associated Press
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJuly 9, 2014

The World Cup has reached the crunch stage of the tournament, as the Netherlands look to battle Argentina in the second semi-final of the competition on Wednesday.

The match will be a titanic struggle between two of the world's greatest footballers, as Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi bid to lead their respective nations to the final.

If the Dutch make it through, it will be a surprise all-European final: Something many pundits predicted would be impossible in the Brazilian heat.

Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

Here is how you can watch the tremendous fixture:

 

When: Wednesday, July 9, at 9 p.m. BST (4 p.m. ET)

Where: Sao Paulo, Brazil

TV: ITV HD (UK only); ESPN (U.S. only)

Live Stream: ITV Player (UK only); ESPN Player (U.S. only)

 

Argentina Tactics and Formation

Predicted Line-Up And Formation
Predicted Line-Up And FormationWhoScored.com

Long gone are the days where a simple 4-4-2, or two banks for defence and midfield, would suffice. 

Argentina look likely to set up as a 4-3-1-2 to accommodate the attacking talents of Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Enzo Perez.

Sergio Aguero has missed much of the tournament as his injury curse from Manchester City's Premier League-winning campaign continues deep into the summer.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has suggested the mercurial striker could play a part against the Netherlands, although likely only from the bench.

ESPN's Miguel Delaney tweeted about the player's possible involvement:

Despite his unfortunate spells on the sideline, Aguero has been sensational when he has been on the pitch in the past year. His 29 games for City last season, in the Premier League and Europe, yielded a magnificent 23 goals, per WhoScored.com, proving what an asset Sergio Aguero is. 

Sabella is likely to start him on the bench due to his fitness shortcomings, but a combined attack of Aguero and Higuain would give the Dutch defence plenty of problems. 

Nevertheless, the focus is firmly on Messi to be the one to deliver for his nation. 

Eraldo Peres/Associated Press

He has looked sharp throughout the tournament―if not at his supreme best―and has been head and shoulders above most of his teammates and opponents.

Argentina will have to be aware of the Dutch counter-attack and, if they commit too many numbers forward—as we saw at times with Brazil against Germany on Tuesday, they could be mauled.

But that is unlikely with the South Americans' midfield sitting firm and motivated to stop Louis van Gaal's forward line.

 

Netherlands Tactics and Formation

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 05:  Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie of the Netherlands celebrate after defeating Costa Rica in a penalty shootout during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica at Arena Fonte No
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Van Gaal has proved to many who doubted him, back in the Netherlands and across the globe, that he is a tactical genius and a cold-hearted decision maker. 

LvG might not be the highest-profile coach in Europe―though he will join this band again when he starts his new role at Manchester United―but he has displayed his full armoury of tactical knowledge at this tournament. 

The Dutch are likely to sit deep during this match with a five-man defence plugging the holes of the channels, not allowing the Argentinians room to operate.

Van Gaal has chosen a 5-3-2 for most of the competition, switching to an attacking 3-4-1-2 when playing the counter-attack.

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 05:  Head Coach, Louis van Gaal (R) and his assistant, Danny Blind stand for the national anthem prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Quarter Final match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica at Arena Fonte Nova on July 5, 2014
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

However, the Netherlands' one big concern is Robin van Persie, who has fallen ill. Owen Gibson of The Guardian writes that the United striker has fallen foul to a stomach bug, and it will be yet another cruel blow for a player who has suffered continuous injury through 2013-14. 

Gibson quotes Van Gaal saying:

He had some stomach problems, some intestinal problems, so it’s better not to train then because you make it worse.

Van Persie is our captain. So in that capacity alone he is very important. In principle my captain will always play but they have to be in good shape.

If RvP is out, Van Gaal is likely to plump for the services of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, and the 30-year-old is a very capable deputy.

The Dutch have a tremendous chance of seeing off an Argentina side who appear over-reliant on Messi. It is similar to the Neymar factor with Brazil, and if LvG can find a way of neutralising the Barcelona forward, his team have a chance of progression.

However, if Messi can show that he has control of his own destiny and is willing to put in a Diego Maradona-like shift on Wednesday, he will likely guarantee that his country takes part in a World Cup final on South American soil, at one of the iconic stadiums of football history. 

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