The second semi-final for the World Cup was decided over the weekend. LVG’s Dutch Demons will face Messi’s blue submarine. Here’s how both teams made their way to the final.
For Argentina, It was a match between a team of individuals against a team dominated by one individual. While Belgium started positively but 8th minute into the game, Messi brilliantly got away from De Bruyne and made a sublime pass to Di Maria, whose pass deflected for Higuain. Higuain had laboured through this tournament up to that point, his confidence shattered in front of goal, but instinct took over when it counted as he fired a fierce first time shot into the far corner of the net to give the South American team the lead.
Despite being one goal down, Belgium still played with a slow tempo, with players passing the ball between themselves without looking for an opening. With Argentina sitting deep and looking content with the lead, Belgium looked extremely frustrating. Fellaini and Van Buyten were sent forward to score the equalizer while the ball was just pumped forward with no intent at all. The ‘talismanic’ figure of Hazard was highly ineffective as he looked a shadow of the player he did for Chelsea last season. To make things worse, he was substituted for a Tottenham player. If he wasn’t feeling pathetic about his performance already, that ought to have done it.
The only negative for Argentina is losing Di Maria to injury. ADM had looked one of their brightest players in the tournament so far and whoever steps in will have BIG BIG shoes to fill. Belgium’s time will come when these young guns would be at their peak in 2018 but right now it’s all about Messi. If he does manage to take them to the distance, well he will certainly be regarded the greatest of all time. Even greater than the legendary Maradona.
The QF between Costa Rica & the Dutch was expected to be a rather ‘Oranje’ affair. But Costa Rica showed why they fuckin topped the so-called group of death comprising England, Uruguay & Italy. The team never gave up despite being constantly bombarded with Dutch heavy artillery at their goalpost. Van Gaal made two changes to the Dutch side that began the 2-1 round-of-16 win over Mexico. With Nigel de Jong ruled out of the rest of the tournament , Wesley Sneijder took up a more central role as Daley Blind played wide on the left and Bruno Martins Indi returned to the defensive duties. Dirk Kuyt started at the right flank and Memphis Depay on the left.
Holland dominated possession, but could not break through Costa Rica’s defence in the opening stages. It was supposed to be an easy Dutch win but turned out to be a cagey game where Costa Rica defied Dutch heroics brilliantly. Luck also favored them as Dutch hit the goalpost thrice but couldnt get in. Robben also displayed a mixture of brilliance and theatrics but came out stuck.
With full & extra times ending 0-0, it was penalty time but not before Louis Van Gaal bringing in Tim Krul in the 121st minute ! It turned out to be a sublimely brilliant change as it created enough doubts in C.Rican minds. Krul, living upto the billing, saved two penalties and helped Dutch set up a SF date with Messi and those other 10 players.
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