The South American champions began their campaign with a surprise 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opener, before getting the better of Mexico and Poland with a similar scoreline of 2-0, to enter the last-16.
Argentina and Netherlands will go head-to-head in one of the the most awaited quarter-final fixtures of the 2022 World Cup at Lusail Stadium on Friday. Oranje are heading into the match on the back of a convincing 3-1 victory over USA in their round of 16 match on Saturday, while La Albiceleste got the better of Australia 2-1 to keep their title hopes alive, on the same day. Both sides didn’t have a comfortable group stage as they failed to produce their A-game and had to wait till the final group-match to secure qualification to the knockouts. The South American champions began their campaign with a surprise 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opener, before getting the better of Mexico and Poland with a similar scoreline of 2-0, to enter the last-16. Netherlands, meanwhile, started off with a 2-0 win over Senegal, before being held to a 1-1 draw by Ecuador , and then defeated hosts Qatar 2-0 to progress to the knockouts.
— OnsOranje (@OnsOranje) December 8, 2022
Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal is likely to opt for a 3-4-1-2 formation with Memphis Depay leading the line alongside Cody Gakpo, while Davy Klaasen would be deployed behind the attacking-duo. The wing-back’s Denzel Dumfries and Daley Dlind are going to be the key players for Holland. Right-wing back Dumfries had an exceptional game against USA, last time out, having registered two assists and one goal, and he will be expected to continue his impressive form in the quarter-final match on Friday. Marten de Roon and Frenkie de Jong would form the midfield-duo, with the latter being responsible for the team’s quick transition from defence to attack. Virgil van Dijk, Jurien Timbers and Nathan Ake are the preferred centre-backs. Van Gaal’s side are likely to play counter-attacking football, with less emphasis on ball possession.
Argentina, on the other hand, might have the major share of ball possession and it would be interesting to see how the front-three of Messi, Julian Alvarez and Angel Di Maria would break down a stubborn Holland defence marshalled by Liverpool-man Van Dijk. Messi is expected to have a free role, with Di Maria primarily occupying the right flank and Alvarez deployed as the centre-forward. Enzo Fernandez, Mac Allister and Rodrygo de Paul could form the midfield-trio. Fernandez will form the bridge between the attack and the defence. Full-back Acuna will be expected to make those overlapping runs down the left channel and create passing options to Messi, who likes to cut inside from the right and play precise diagonal balls. Molina would occupy the opposite flanks, with Christian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi forming the centre-back partnership. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, is expected to have a busy night at Lusail Stadium on Friday.
Netherland full-back Jeremie Frimpong injured his ankle during the win against USA, but the Bayer Leverkusen-man is reportedly fit for the quarter-final match. As for Argentina, winger Di Maria, who missed the previous match because of a hamstring problem, is likely to return to the starting eleven. Although there were reports about Rodrygo de Paul’s fitness, the Atletico Madrid-man has announced that he will be available for Friday’s game. Meanwhile Papu Gomez had sprained his ankle in the previous match but is expected to be fit for the crucial encounter against Oranje.
Netherlands probable starting lineup (3-4-1-2): Noppert, Timber, Van Dijk, Ake, Dumfries, De Jong, De Roon, Bling, Klaasen, Gakpo, Depay
Argentina probable starting lineup (4-3-3): E. Martinez, Molina, Romero, Otamendi, Acuna, Fernandez, De Paul, Mac Allister, Di Maria, Alvarez