The World Cup goes into turbo mode on Friday when two football superpowers collide in the quarter-finals — the Netherlands and Argentina — so make sure you have some popcorn at the ready. After a riveting Round of 16 stage, the Netherlands coasted into the last eight with a rousing 3-1 win over the USA, while Argentina had a scare before prevailing 2-1 against Australia.
Knockout football is something that the Netherlands and Argentina are accustomed to, and here are a few stats about both sides that are worth bearing in mind:
- The Netherlands and Argentina will be facing each other for the sixth time at the World Cup — in their previous meeting in 2014, Argentina went through courtesy of penalties.
- Argentina have failed to score in each of their past three meetings with the Netherlands.
- Louis van Gaal is now unbeaten in 11 World Cup matches in charge of the Netherlands (eight wins and a draw), and he is in striking distance of equaling Felipe Scolari’s record (12).
- Argentina have scored at least two goals in five of their past six World Cup outings.
As you can imagine, this is a mouth-watering quarter-final tie, and one that will propel a myriad of top US betting sites into life with some of the best betting lines. We have you covered as we have divulged three tips for you to consider ahead of kick-off.
Argentina to deliver the goods
With three wins on the trot, Argentina have hit their stride at just the right time. After their jaw-dropping defeat at the hands of Saudi Arabia, Argentina seem to have got their act together. On the other hand, the Netherlands have sometimes flattered to deceive. Yes, Cody Gakpo has been a revelation, firing three World Cup goals, and the Netherlands looked more threatening on the flanks. They also forced the Americans to work in tighter spaces, and as a result, the USA’s pass completion rate in the final third dropped to 67.2%.
As far as Argentina are concerned, we all know what they are capable of, and with Angel Di Maria set to return to the fold, a three-pronged attack along with Julian Alvarez and Messi makes Argentina a scary proposition. Argentina usually get better as a World Cup wears on, and they should seal a semi-final berth. The Moneyline is always a good starting point, and FanDuel has priced Argentina at a short -160 to advance to the last four which is worth considering.
Arguably, there have been some slow burners at this World Cup, and a swathe of matches have been goalless at half-time. With knockout football, the prospect of extra time and penalties is a tangible one, and one that the Netherlands and Argentina are no strangers to. But this could turn out to be a classic, and one which will see plenty of chances created as well as a few goals to salivate over. In their previous match, Argentina fashioned 14 attempts on goal, and the Dutch have plenty of firepower with Gakpo and Memphis Depay, who is now second in the all-time list of Netherlands scorers.
Here, the total goals over/under can usually provide some value. DraftKings has obliged with odds of +140 for there to be Over 2.5 goals, which might be quite tempting.
More magic from Lionel Messi
It never really takes long for Messi to ignite. On his 1,000th career appearance, Messi plundered his 789th goal. Perhaps more surprisingly, given his longstanding association with the World Cup, it was amazing that Messi’s strike against Argentina was his first-ever World Cup knockout stage goal. Against Australia, this was more of a vintage performance from Messi. He also has a habit of opening the scoring; indeed no player in history has broken the deadlock more than Messi in a World Cup game (six). With this being his final World Cup, Messi wants to go out with a bang. Just two more goals will take him above Gabriel Batistuta to become Argentina’s top World Cup scorer.
Inevitably, he rises to the big occasion, and he could weave a bit of magic that sends Argentina through. If you are a fan of the goalscorer markets, then Messi is at an inviting looking +180 with FanDuel to score anytime against the Netherlands.