By, Kyle Gibson
Today’s semifinal might not make as much history as yesterday’s lopsided German 7-1 victory over host Brazil, but it should be a much better game.
Lionel Messi is hellbent on making his own mark on Argentina’s soccer history, while Louis van Gaal, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie attempt to become legends in Holland by winning a first World Cup trophy.
Here are they 3 Keys to the match, which should be super exciting.
Players Gotta Play
This sounds self explanatory, but this is a game where role players can only do so much. On the Argentine side of the equation, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Ezequiel Lavezzi have to play well early and often. Two of the stars going into the tournament, Sergio Aguero and Angel DiMaria, are out with injuries. DiMaria produced the winning goal against Switzerland, while Aguero’s tricks would have created match-up problems for the Dutch. Messi, Higuain and Lavezzi are the last hope for this team going forward. Enzo Perez will more than likely fill in for DiMaria. He will have to play the game of his life.
For the Dutch, van Persie has failed to score in the last 3 games, but can get red hot at any second. Before the Quarterfinal against Costa Rica, Sneijder had 5 goals in his previous 5 knockout games. He’ll have to return to that form against Argentina.
Arjen Robben is Clutch
Arjen Robben, in my humble opinion, is the best player in the world when it comes to performing in big moments. It’s like Robben stole Ronaldo’s clutch gene and runs with it. No player is faster with a ball at his feet. No player is better at cutting back onto his left foot and no player is better at drawing fouls, real or imaginary. There is no greater soccer villain.
Robben, like van Persie, hasn’t scored since the Australia group stage match. This wasn’t something to worry about until this game against Argentina. Check the bottom of this post for Robben’s most clutch goal ever.
Argentina’s Fans are Amazing
I didn’t realize just how much supporters mattered at soccer games until I read Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography. Fans, more than any other sport, make a difference in soccer games. Argentina’s spectators have been the best besides Brazil’s, making every game feel like a Boca Juniors home game. For the Dutch, the distance from say..Amsterdam to Sao Paulo is 6,465 miles. The Netherlands will have some fans, but it will be completely outmatched.
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