No doubt, a World Cup quarter final fixture between Netherlands and Argentina is an iconic encounter that will be filled with thrills and frills.
The game will kick-off at 8pm local time on Friday December 9, 2022.
It will be a much contested fixture as captain Lionel Messi will hope to get closer to his dream of winning his first World Cup with Argentina.
Back in history, Mario Kempes’s brace and the ticker-tape celebrations after Argentina’s 3-1 victory in the 1978 final have gone down in folklore. As has Dennis Bergkamp’s legendary late winner in the last eight in 1998.
If Friday’s quarter-final clash at the Lusail Stadium can be half as good as those meetings, then we’ll be in for a cracker. However, the two previous World Cup meetings, in 2006 and 2014, “failed to produce a goal”, said Sporting News. And the last competitive goal scored in this fixture was Bergkamp’s 24 years ago.
At the semi-final stage in Brazil in 2014, Argentina progressed on penalties after the match ended goalless. Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal said that his team have got “a score to settle” with Argentina “for what happened two World Cups ago”.
One of the big storylines at Qatar 2022 has been about Argentina skipper Lionel Messi, who is playing in his fifth and final World Cup. In the round of 16 Messi played his 1,000th career match and scored in the 2-1 win over Australia.
Now 35, the brilliant No.10 has lifted the Copa América with his country, but is still to emulate the great Diego Maradona by winning the World Cup.
FIFA has appointed world renowned Antonio Mateu to be the man in charge of the match. While top CAF and PSL referee Victor Gomes is the fourth official for Friday’s World Cup clash between Argentina and Netherlands.
Gomes, who could retire after the World Cup, will officiate in his third game in Qatar.
Netherlands boss Van Gaal had everyone fit for the round of 16 win over the USA and that should be the case for Friday, too. He is expected to name the same starting XI.
Argentina have concerns over winger Angel Di Maria. He missed the win over Australia because of a thigh injury and is a doubt to face the Dutch. Papu Gomez came off against Australia with an ankle sprain and is also a doubt.
Possible starting XIs
Netherlands: Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, De Roon, De Jong, Blind, Klaassen; Gakpo, Memphis
Argentina: Martinez; Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna; De Paul, Fernandez, Mac Allister; Di Maria or Gomez, Alvarez, Messi