Lionel Messi meets Virgil van Dijk. The youngest World Cup coach competes against the oldest. South America vs Europe.
The quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands has all the ingredients of a classic.
Netherlands: Noppert; Wood, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, De Jong, De Roon, Blind; classes; Gakpo, Depay
Argentina: Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; Fernandez, De Paul, Mac Allister; DiMaria, Messi, Alvarez
head to head (total)
The Netherlands have an overall advantage over Argentina with four wins and two draws in nine games.
Head to Head (World Cups)
The Netherlands and Argentina are tied head-to-head at the FIFA World Cup, each with two wins and one draw in five games.
And the possibility that it will be Messi’s last game on football’s greatest stage only adds to the anticipation.
The seven-time World Player of the Year is three wins away from realizing his ultimate dream, but two people stand in his way.
Firstly, the not insignificant figure of Van Dijk, who has been one of the world’s best defenders for the past five years. If there’s anyone who can stop Messi in one of his signature dribbles, it’s the graceful Liverpool centre-back, who combines pace with a great interpretation of the game.
And then there’s Louis van Gaal, the shrewd tactician, who is 71, recently successfully treated for prostate cancer and now planning to win the World Cup, perhaps in the final job of his 26-year coaching career.
Van Gaal, long since one of the most charismatic characters in football, tackles this task with a lot of fun – even on the eve of one of the biggest games of his career.
He was told on Thursday that Angel Di Maria, who plays for Argentina, considers himself the worst manager he has ever played under after their time together at Manchester United in 2014/15.
Van Gaal said it’s a shame Di Maria feels that way – “he’s one of the few players who’s said that,” he noted, “as usual it’s the other way around” – adding that he once had a falling out with the Dutch captain Memphis Depay, who sat next to him.
“Now let’s kiss,” said Van Gaal, leaning towards Depay with arms outstretched.
Van Gaal was also asked how he planned to stop Messi – a question many coaches have been unable to find an answer to over the years.
“It would be pretty foolish to reveal your own tactics,” he said, smiling. “But it’s not that difficult to find an answer to that. You could have found the answer yourself. You may want to block and close the passing lines. Am I right, Memphis?”
As for his Argentina counterpart, 44-year-old Lionel Scaloni is a relative newcomer, having first led his country as senior coach in 2018. Still, he guided Argentina to the Copa America title last year – the country’s first major title since 1993 – and managed to stabilize his side after a shock defeat by Saudi Arabia in their first group game.
While Van Gaal predicted a close game that would be decided by a “decisive moment”, Scaloni said it will be a “nice game because we are talking about two national teams that are ready to attack but also able to defend”.
It will be a stylistic break between two of football’s historic powerhouses, with Argentina – a two-time champions – preferring to play a game of possession and the Netherlands – a three-times beaten finalist – now usually counterattacking under Van Gaal.
They have met in some high-profile World Cup matches, none bigger than the 1978 final won by Argentina on home soil. There was also a round of 16 match in 1998, won by the Netherlands thanks to a wonderful 90th-minute goal from Dennis Bergkamp, and a semi-final penalty shoot-out win by Argentina in 2014.
Messi played in that game and was kept relatively calm by a side also coached by Van Gaal. Eight years later, Messi is still Argentina’s star player and delivered his best performance of the World Cup in a 2-1 win over Australia in the Round of 16.
“The tournament really starts for us tomorrow,” said Van Gaal. “Although I don’t want to downplay the importance of the other countries we’ve beaten, Argentina and possibly Brazil in the next round are different countries to the ones we’ve played against so far.”
Scaloni pressed on the fitness of midfielder Rodrigo De Paul, who, according to some reports in Argentine media, may be in doubt but has revealed little.
When and where to see
When will the quarter final game between Netherlands and Argentina kick off?
The quarter-final game between the Netherlands and Argentina will kick off on December 10 at 12:30 PM IST.
Where will the quarter final game between Netherlands and Argentina kick off?
The quarter-final game between the Netherlands and Argentina kicks off at the Lusail Stadium.
Where can you watch the quarter final game between Netherlands and Argentina in India?
The quarter final game between Netherlands and Argentina will be broadcast live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and iOS, the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be streamed live on JioCinema.
Where to watch the quarter final game between Netherlands and Argentina outside of India?
Argentina Live Stream: Telemundo
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports App, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – Television: CTV, TSN; Live stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – Television: BBC One; Live stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live streaming: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singlet TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro.
All results of the FIFA World Cup 2022 can be found here: Complete list of all matches, scores, scores, scorers