The Netherlands and Argentina are preparing to play each other for a spot in the World Cup semi-finals in a fixture that will be highly anticipated by all.

It’s two nations with a lot of history at the World Cup with five meetings between the nations including the World Cup final in 1974, and the historic scoreline even with both teams winning two games each. Many fans will also remember Dennis Bergkamp’s great goal against Argentina in the quarter-finals in 1994, and more recently when the game ended 0-0 after extra time, but Argentina won on penalties to make it to the final in 2014.

Messi missed out on the trophy to Germany in 2014 and this year it will likely be his last chance to get his hands on that trophy. It’s the one he wants more than anything else and it’s been spoken about a lot before in terms of the pressure he sometimes feels from his nation.

The Netherlands beat the USA like a game of chess. Gregg Berhalter walked right into the trap of the Dutch tactics. We as a football nation are known for dictating the tempo and speed of the game. This comes from the thinking process of growing up as a 9yr old at Ajax, and the coaching drilling into you that the more you have the ball the more you control the game.

Berhalter had learned a lot from living in Holland and worked closely with his close friend Arne Slot, the coach that is currently in the Dutch league with Feyenoord. He came out and said they speak regularly but he forgot the opposite tactic needed when they make you feel like you control the game by letting you keep the ball. USA faced another nation that played on the counterattack and used their energetic young team to run down the their energy because they kept looking for options that they couldn’t find after the Pulisic change.

Van Gaal knew this was USA’s weapon and also knew their other strengths in not allowing Dest to get the ball easily so he would over commit, and when he would be gone Depay would take the advantage on that side. Robinson their left back would also be invited to attack. Even when they got the ball they did not see the trap.

Attacking on the break when they are out of position was effective with our wingbacks because theirs would be focusing on attacking and would leave the space open for us to take advantage. 

After the game the players celebrated as they got back to the hotel because the tactical trick worked, and they enjoyed their day off to swim and relax. 

The game vs Argentina will be different because Holland will sit back more, as they have to not because they want to. That’s why Van Gaal said I want us to be better when we win the ball back. 

Messi will be the key and not just Argentina, but the whole nation of Holland and everyone that loves football enjoys watching Messi. The dutch are more interested because of the Barcelona and Johan Cruyff, plus LVG and Frank Rijkaard connections.  But Argentina is Messi. If he does not score he will unlock someone to score. Van Dijk said we are ready and De Jong said he knows they are favourites but we are too.

LVG likes to analyse the game the day after just like he did with us at Ajax. Everything that needs to be said gets said and you learn to take it on the chin because it’s not always nice to hear even if you have won. I never forgot at 19 years old he asked me to tell everyone how we played and he wants my honesty. I was surprised being so young and new to the first team, so when he said you played three full games in the first team so you are a first-team player now, not the young talent anymore.

Denzel Dumfries also said they have to play better than what they did against the USA to beat Argentina. This is exactly what they want the nation and the Journalists to write about, saying they didn’t play well. It is bad for not being typically Dutch but a lot of nations have been playing like that defensively, but holland are used to when we play well in controlling the defence and attacking style when we go deep. 

Argentina will be ready regardless of Gómez missing with a bad ankle, Di Maria who is working hard on his comeback and Leandro Paredes who didn’t play the last game against Austria. 

Holland will play the same style but have been working more on the turnaround. Ake is the fastest player so that is also why he is needed behind the top passer Blind so he can cover his back. Regales of his young age Timber is well on track so I look forward to his next test. Will van Dijk handle the moment of going tight and drop off as a defensive line and getting the team to play if things get locked for Holland. 

The middle will be key because if they don’t focus on the space between the lines and don’t make it too big Messi will hurt us. He is the man that never stops looking around him, and when I say never I mean never that is why he is so great in being a step ahead of the rest. 

I am looking forward to a game full of old memories. Wanting to take revenge for the past in getting beaten by Argentina, while Messi is in to win it and add more to his legacy. But we need to remember that a team can always beat the individual. #mmlove