Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Semi final #2 - Holland v Argentina - has to be better than first semi final!

So the dust will eventually settle....wait what? What was that? Oh Germany scored again. Ah poor Brazil, the coronation that was suppose to be. Just imagine how depressed the nation will be if Argentina wins the whole thing! Talk about insult to injury. But of course Argentina will have to get through Oranje first.

This will be even more difficult without Di Maria. What I am about to say might be seen as
Linking player
blasphemy, but Di Maria is only slightly less important to Argentina as is Messi. Everyone knows the talents of Messi, and therefore pay him special attention. This opens up spaces for a player such as Di Maria who has evolved from being solely a wide player to a player that slots deeper and is more of a traditional #10 playmaker. His ability to play this role and do so with aplomb is vital for Argentina. Argentina needs this linkage to feed the likes of Aguero and Higauin, and allow Messi to get some room to roam. Without Di Maria I am not sure where Argentina will find someone to fill that role. Maybe Maxi Rodriguez, but that will be a huge drop off. That will allow even more "attention" to be paid to Messi. Argentina has been much more solid on defense, especially compared to 4 years ago. But I am still not convinced that their keeper - Romero - is good enough for this level.

In front of Argentina is an old foe. Argentina and Holland played a famous final in 1978 and faced off again in a great quarter final match in Marseilles in 1998. Holland is also the one nation in the final 4 that has never won the trophy but they have reached 3 finals. What
struck me watching them play Costa Rica, especially during the penalty kicks, was the offensive talent that is available for Oranje - Sneijder, Kuyt, RVP, Robben, Huntellaar etc. Also, the last few games it appears that Sneijder is starting to really assume the role of a #10 - maybe it is maturity from 4 years ago where he was portrayed as a petulant brat in the Dutch camp. Robben seems to be a man possessed. Yes he has been flip flopping left and right, but his pace and dribbling has been almost impossible to contain. I am not sure Argentina will be able to solve this enigma. The real question is whether or not RVP wakes up and does more than wear the captain's arm band.

Without Di Maria I fear that Argentina will be without their metronome, the player that provides the link in the midfield. This might force Messi to drop deeper to pick up the ball, which will expose him to more defensive attention. I also do not think the Argentines will be able to stop the Oranje attack. I know that Holland did not score against Costa Rica, and struggled to get on the score sheet against Mexico until late in the game. But they are the second highest scoring team in the World Cup, that counts for something.

Oranje 1 - Albiceleste 0

This result would set up a mouth watering West Germany v Holland final. I am sure that the Oranje would want to reverse the outcome of the 1974 finals! It would also set up a Brazil v Argentina 3rd place about a match up that would actually make the 3rd place game "must watch."

No comments: