The second semi-final at Brazil 2014 features another tussle for supremacy between Europe and South America, with the Netherlands and Argentina renewing acquaintances in Sao Paulo. The two teams most famously contested the Final in 1978, when Argentina won 3-1 after extra time to record their only success in four FIFA World Cupâ„¢ meetings with the Oranje.
Their hopes of posting a second could well depend on Lionel Messi, who has driven the team forward in Brazil and regularly made the difference, with a haul of four goals and one assist so far. Performing a different role than he does for Barcelona, Messi pulls the strings for La Albiceleste thanks to his exceptional ball protection, devastating bursts of speed and precision passing.
He will have to make do without injured lieutenant Angel Di Maria, but the player whose absence will arguably be felt most is Nigel de Jong….