It was brutal. Que horror, Brazil! It’s one thing to lose a close game in dramatic fashion but it’s another thing to just get obliterated, 7-1, in front of your home fans.
I’m not going to dive into the details of Germany’s pasting of Brazil, other than to say, Die Mannschaft is looking mighty scary right now.
Moving on to the next semi-finals match—Argentina vs the Netherlands.
It’s easy to point to Lionel Messi and ride his twinkle toes all the way to a World Cup title. The man, after all, is still the best player in the game. But more importantly, he’s been at his incomparable best, carrying Argentina late into the tournament with his timely goal scoring and genius playmaking.
But dispatching the Netherlands in the name of Messi is severely underrating the Oranje and its talent. They don’t have anybody equal to Messi on its squad but they have someone pretty damn close in Arjen Robben.
Robben’s a beast in his own right. Against an Argentinian back four that has shown signs of vulnerability, Javier Mascherano and company will have their hands full with Robben, especially when he puts on the afterburners down the side.
But football doesn’t operate on individual genius, let alone a one-against-11 mentality. The spotlight may be on Messi and Robben but equal attention needs to be placed on the overall makeup of both squads.
Argentina is hitting its stride while the Netherlands have thrived on sheer survival. It wasn’t that long ago when the Dutch were staring at a 1-0 deficit against Mexico in the dying stages of their round-of-16 match. After surviving that, they followed that up by looking completely discombobulated against a Costa Rica squad that was pegged as 4,000/1 long shots to win the tournament. You can make a case that the Netherlands haven’t played up to their potential since their trashing of Spain in the first game in the group stages.
Argentina has rebounded nicely after a mediocre—for their standards—showing in the group stage.
Switzerland took them to the limit in the round of 16 but it wasn’t as close as the score indicated. Then they followed that by completely schooling Belgium on the art of all-around field domination.
Momentum is fleeting in the world of sports, much more in football where a wrong challenge sends a star player out with an injury. When you have it, you ride it like there’s no tomorrow.
Argentina has the momentum, even without Angel di Maria in the lineup; I’m confident they can pull off a victory over a Dutch side that hasn’t lived up to its potential in recent games.
That’s one of the biggest reasons why the Argentines are the clear favorites to win this match at 2/3 favorites compared to the Netherlands 21/10 odds to win and they’re the now the favorites to win the World Cup at 12/5 odds.
It’s going to be an interesting match and we’re not putting it past the Dutch to score the upset here. But when you’re picking sides and Argentina is one of the choices, it’s hard to go against a team that is hitting its stride at the right tine and has the best player in the world—healthy and leading the charge.
Result: Argentina 2, Netherlands 0