Netherlands Vs. Argentina World Cup Quarterfinal Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/9/22)

2010 was an iconic World Cup, as it was decided by an iconic 116th-minute goal in the final following a late red card. This put the Netherlands on the receiving end of one of the most heartbreaking moments in football history. In 2014, Argentina suffered an almost identical fate, losing 1-0 in the 113th minute of the final. Now, these two near-missers have a chance to exorcise the ghosts of World Cups past, but only one will survive this fascinating quarterfinal clash. Let’s take a look at the odds and make some picks as we enter the final eight of this year’s World Cup.

Netherlands Vs. Argentina Odds

Argentina are favored in what the sportsbooks rightfully see as a fairly even matchup, as they have +125 odds to win within 90 minutes; Netherlands are +255 for the same wager, while the draw is +220. As for goalscoring, it could be a low scoring one, as u2.5 goals is favored at -170

Netherlands Vs. Argentina Prediction & Pick

In pre-tournament analysis, consensus was that it’s all about that defense for the Dutch; they’ll go as far as their back line can take them. While the defense has been outstanding, the real story has been the attack. They’ve scored in every match so far, being held to a single goal just once, and they just set a tournament-high with a three-goal barrage against the United States. They haven’t always had a wealth of chances, but they’ve been opportunistic and clinical when it’s counted. Cody Gakpo has been the face of this attacking surge from the Netherlands, as he scored in each group stage game, but three different Dutch lions got on the scoresheet against the US. Against a major tournament favorite in Argentina, the attack will have to keep taking their chances for the Netherlands to keep on advancing.

While the Netherlands were perhaps more dominant than expected against the US, and in the tournament so far, it’s hard to say the same for Argentina. They famously lost their tournament-opener to Saudi Arabia, and then rebounded to win their next two group games with more impressive play, but in the round of 16 you’d be well within your rights to suggest that they let Australia hang around a bit too much, as the Socceroos drew within 1 goal with a bit of time left, and even looked like equalizing for a few shocking moments. Of course, the Albiceleste survived, and now the great Lionel Messi, having perhaps his best World Cup so far, is just three wins away from the coveted World Cup that would surely solidify his status as the greatest footballer to ever grace the pitch. The attack seems to have stabilized, scoring 2 goals in each of their past 3 games, but will the midfield and defense do enough to minimize the threat from a suddenly-imposing Dutch attack?

To me, the definitive answer is…sort of. I don’t see the Netherlands snapping off another 3 goals, but it also seems like the Argentine attack has, at times, uncharacteristically struggled with turning possession into chances, and chances into goals. It’s all well and good when you’re playing Poland and have two dozen opportunities to get one in the net, but the Netherlands have potentially the best defense in the tournament- it’s a bit of a different proposition. I think both attacks cool off a bit and it stays low scoring, so I’ll take the under on goalscoring. As far as the results, I think this one’s seriously tough to call- so naturally, when that’s the case and one team is a pretty solid favorite, there’s value elsewhere. My official pick on the three-way moneyline is the draw, but if you’re able, I’d be looking for the double-result wager for the Netherlands along with the regulation draw. I do think the Dutch will get through this one- Argentina has relatively coasted against subpar competition without playing all that well, and they’ve shown nothing that suggests that they’ll be able to break out against the Netherlands star back line.

Key Matchups

Netherlands Attack vs. Argentina Defense

As I mentioned above, the Netherlands’ attack is one of the more pleasant surprises of the tournament, and until their most recent match, the headlines had all been about Cody Gakpo. The PSV rising star has comfortably asserted himself as the second striker alongside the veteran Memphis Depay, and opposing sides have taken notice. It was clear that the American defense had made a point of limiting Gakpo’s opportunities, as he took only one shot in the match and it was blocked rather harmlessly. But he was still effective in moving the ball, and all of the attention on him created gulfs of space for his teammates, especially in transitional situations, which allowed them the opportunity for some very similar-looking, neat finishes. Davy Klaasen, serving as a true CAM, has provided a solid link between the midfield and attack, facilitating a lot of the Netherlands’ chances with passes that free up lanes for his teammates. If the Dutch find themselves in overtime and need a spark, Steven Bergwijn and Steven Berghuis, both of Ajax, are pace-laden options who would be excellent for stretching the field against tired legs.

Those legs would belong to an Argentina defense that has exhibited some moments of very solid play, but also some real lapses. They pretty much entirely shut down Poland and Mexico- this is not an exaggeration, those two teams combined for one shot on target against Argentina- but two goals allowed to Saudi Arabia and a puzzling own-goal against Australia are not insignificant shortcomings. The centre-back duo of Nicolás Otamendi and Cristian Romero, one former Prem stalwart and one rising star in England, has been very solid, but the diminished presence of Man United star Lisandro Martinez is a little puzzling, and something to keep an eye on in this one and potentially beyond. The fullbacks are a La Liga pair, Atletico Madrid’s Nahuel Molina on the right, and Sevilla man Marcos Acuna on the left. With the former being a relative youngster and the latter being a true veteran, they both bring different qualities, and their differences keep opponents on their toes. It’s not necessarily a superstar-studded group, but it’s a solid and competent one- that being said, their task of shutting down a positively cruising Dutch attack is very different than the successes they’ve had so far.

Argentina Attack vs. Netherlands Defense

I know, I’m skipping analysis on my beloved midfield battle, but it’s just not that intriguing between these two groups; they’re both solid, but not exceptional. You know what is exceptional though? Any attack led by Leo Messi, and any defense anchored by Virgil Van Dijk. We’ve seen these two clash before, with mixed results- in that famous 2019 UCL semifinal, Messi and Barcelona put on a show in the first leg, while Van Dijk’s Liverpool had a shutout for the ages in the second half. It’s a grudge match of sorts between the top-two finishers in the closest Ballon D’Or race of all time, and both will be highly motivated to achieve some international glory.

Of course, these two units are not made up of just their two central stars. Angel Di Maria has been a mainstay of this side for years, and was through the group stage, but was sidelined by an injury against Australia; his status going forward will be of great interest. Similarly, Paulo Dybala is another injured star, but he has not been used yet, and could be a major spark if and when he does make it onto the pitch. Against Australia, Messi was joined by Julián Álvarez at striker- the Man City youngster has had an excellent performance so far this tournament, justifying his inclusion over the more veteran Lautaro Martinez. The Inter man has struggled a bit, and played some bench minutes against Australia, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s incorporated going forward. Argentina’s final starting forward this past match was Alejandro “Papu” Gomez, although the Sevilla veteran played a relatively nondescript 50 minutes before he was the casualty of a shift to a more defensive formation. Even with some injuries, Argentina have no lack of attacking depth; getting the right players on the pitch to maximize all of that talent will be the real challenge.

Other than Van Dijk, there’s 4 more excellent Dutch defenders with whom the Argentine attack will be forced to reckon. In the Dutch 3-4-1-2 formation, essentially forming a back 5 with two very free fullbacks, Van Dijk is flanked in central defense by another City player, Nathan Aké, and Ajax’s Jurrien Timber; both have been excellent, almost without exception in this tournament. The fullbacks are an interesting group as well, on the left is the wily veteran Daley Blind, who picked up a goal and an assist amidst an excellent performance against the USA, and Denzel Dumfries on the right. The younger, speedier star from Inter was also exceptional in the round of 16- he was considered by many to be the man of the match, as he assisted the first two Netherlands goal and put in the final one himself (off of that Blind assist). It goes almost without saying that these two play very differently but both very well in defense, but their attacking abilities- as well as those of Van Dijk on balls in the air- makes the Dutch back line really hard to dispute as the very best in this tournament. Lastly, I’m intrigued by the role- or lack thereof- of Matthijs de Ligt, once a major rising star but currently something of an afterthought; I wonder if he’ll be given the chance to lend his big-match experience against a seasoned side like Argentina. It’ll be interesting to see how they fare against an Argentina side that could lean on finesse and teamwork to outfox the physically imposing Oranje defense.

From starting my own blog in Middle School, to working on a friend’s in college, and finally joining the Lineups team this year, I’ve been writing about sports for over a decade and betting on them as long as I’ve been legally able. I graduated from the University of Michigan last year, where I took sports journalism classes alongside my business major. Having played and watched sports for almost my whole life, I aim to provide insight and entertainment, as well as profitable picks, in my writing about professional and collegiate leagues.

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