Netherlands vs Argentina
World Cup semi-final
Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
Live on ITV
Netherlands and Argentina meet in the semi-final of the World Cup at the Arena Corinthians, São Paulo on Wednesday night with the prize for the victor a meeting with Germany in the iconic Maracana.
Germany stunned Brazil in the first of these last four meetings - spectacularly destroying the host nation by a margin of 7-1 to ensure their passage into the showpiece event having falling at the semi-final stage in the previous four tournaments.
It has been a worrying week for the Netherlands given the concerns over captain Robin van Persie struggling not with injury but a stomach bug which could well have kept him out of proceedings.
The Manchester United striker does, however, make the Netherlands XI - something that would have come as a great relief for Louis van Gaal.
Another significant boost for Van Gaal comes in the shape of Nigel de Jong. The imposing midfielder had been expected to miss the remainder of the tournament having sustained a groin injury in the last 16 defeat of Mexico.
However, De Jong is able to return to the Netherlands team for this encounter with Argentina as his country bid to make it into a second successive World Cup final.
Netherlands XI: Cillessen; Kuijt, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Blind; De Jong, Sneijder, Wijnaldum; Robben, Van Persie.
Sergio Aguero was another player expected to miss the remainder of the World Cup having sustained an injury, but the Manchester City striker was deemed fit enough to be available for selection for the semi-final.
However, as expected, Gonzalo Higuain retains his place in the Argentina team having scored the winner in the previous round against Belgium, but there is a significant blow for Alejandro Sabella.
Angel di Maria is out through injury, with Ezequiel Lavezzi into replace him. Elsewhere, full-back Marcos Rojo returns from suspension.
Argentina XI: Romero, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo, Enzo Pérez, Biglia, Mascherano, Lavezzi, Messi, Higuaín.
- Argentina have reached their first World Cup semi-final since 1990, when they went on to finish runners-up to West Germany.
- These teams have met four times in the World Cup, with Netherlands winning twice and Argentina once, with one draw.
- Argentina’s victory, in the 1978 final, is their only win against Netherlands in eight meetings overall (L4 D3).
- Argentina have lost just one of their last 16 World Cup games (W12 D3, not including penalty shoot-outs).
- Lionel Messi has created the most goalscoring chances in this World Cup: 19.
- Argentina are yet to trail for a single minute of the 2014 World Cup.
- Netherlands are the only team to concede more than one penalty at the 2014 World Cup.
- Netherlands’ 0-0 draw against Costa Rica was their first goalless draw in World Cup knockout stages. This ended a run of 11 World Cup knockout stage matches for the Dutch without a clean sheet.
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