van Dijk, Messi

By Biodun Busari

FIFA World Cup in Qatar will resume with quarter finals on Friday after a two-day break of breathtaking matches from group stages and the round of 16 but all eyes are on the second match as the Netherlands take on Argentina.

Both teams will lock horns at Lusail Iconic Stadium and the most common kick-off times around the world are Qatar – 2200 hours, Central Standard Time (CDT) – 1300 hours, East Coast Time (ET) – 1400 hours, Pacific Time (PT) – 1100 hours and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) – 1900 hours.

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The Netherlands are going to approach the game as the unbeaten team in this tournament, while Argentina will boast of a resurgent team getting stronger per game since losing the first match to Saudi Arabia.

The game is crucial as 35-year-old Lionel Messi has won every major accolade in the soccer world except a World Cup trophy. And, this Mundial is Messi’s last and many have wished him to win it as he draws the curtain on international football.

Having known this, the Netherlands stand in Messi’s way. The Dutch team will be the most skilled squad Argentina will play in Qatar when they meet on Friday.

The Netherlands may not boast of the greatest of all time in their team, but their skipper Virgil van Dijk is an experienced and talented defender that could give his Argentine counterpart a tough time on the pitch.

Asides from van Dijk, Netherlands play as a team with quality players like Daley Blind, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong among others.

Also, Messi is not the only player in Argentina, Lautaro Martinez, Federico Fernandez and Angel Di Maria have all been fantastic in this tournament.

The two teams have no injury concerns going into this quarterfinals game, but Argentina is the favourite team to win the game. However, the Netherlands could prove difficult once again.

Both teams are expected to give an electrifying match. They have all it takes to advance to the semis. The Netherlands were finalists in 2010 beaten by Spain’s lone goal to lose the World Cup. Also, Argentina played the final against Germany and were edged out by one goal denying Messi the opportunity to lift the trophy in 2014.


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