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July 9 World Cup Semifinal Open Thread

Argentina faces the Netherlands for a shot at the final.

Julian Finney

Well, we're down to the nitty gritty now. One half of the final matchup has been booked as Germany absolutely dismantled Brazil yesterday, now it's down to Leo Messi to led his Argentina side against Arjen Robben and the Orange Crush Netherlands.

Argentina, perhaps playing a little bit below their full potential, has yet to trail in this World Cup which is pretty impressive when you consider how they're so talented offensively but absolutely nothing to speak of otherwise. They'll be missing perennial transfer target Angel di Maria but have the services of a Messi who has more key passes in this WC than shots. Hate him or not, the dude is in fine form.

The Dutch also boast an impressive attack, led by 75-year-old Olympic high dive champion Arjen Robben and gray-haired skunk Robin van Persie. Trouser dropper Louis van Gaal is turning out to be some kind of tactical mastermind (or lucky, depending on your point of view) so look to him devising some kind of plan to try and slow down Messi. My money is on Tim Krul man-marking the diminutive Argentine.

Argentina starting XI: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo; Biglia, Pérez, Mascherano; Lavezzi, Messi, Higuaín

Netherlands starting XI: Cillessen; Kuyt, Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind; De Jong, Wijnaldum, Sneijder; Robben, Van Persie.

Happy chatting, everyone.

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