Blogs & Opinion


Netherlands v Argentina: Lionel Messi and his team-mates to secure World Cup final spot

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 7th July 2014 view comments

HOLLAND v ARGENTINA (9pm, Wednesday)

Holland got torn to shreds – and I mean torn to absolute shreds – in parts of their group game with Australia, so for them to be sitting in the semi-finals really, really shocks me.

They aren’t very good at all and they can’t keep getting away with it.

Merse reckons Argentina will be celebrating come Wednesday night

Merse reckons Argentina will be celebrating come Wednesday night

They rely so much on Arjen Robben it’s unreal and if he doesn’t do it for them up front then I don’t see who else will, while if Lionel Messi starts running at Ron Vlaar I dread to think what will happen.

Robin van Persie, after scoring a great header against Spain, has done absolutely nothing; he has barely touched the ball and, in my opinion, is very lucky to still be getting a game.

What they do have, though, is a very good manager who knows how to get results and makes brave calls, as we saw on Saturday when he brought on Tim Krul for the penalties against Costa Rica.

Louis van Gaal has set Holland up okay but I think they have to score first in this game as if Argentina get the opening goal we will have the same game as the one against Belgium, when they won free-kicks, played with a slow tempo and killed things off.

But really I can’t see anything other than an Argentina win.

Angel Di Maria will be a massive miss but Gonzalo Higuain will be a totally different player to the one that started this tournament after scoring that unbelievable goal against Belgium and the game changer Messi will get them through.

The frustrating thing watching from an England point of view, though, is that none of the teams at this stage of the tournament are much kop.

There has been no outstanding, dominant team and the defending has been horrible and while that has made it so great watch, it makes you think this World Cup could have been anyone’s - even ours.

PAUL PREDICTS: Holland 0-2 Argentina

Here's what Paul said ahead of Tuesday's Brazil-Germany semi-final. Suffice to say, he didn't get the scoreline spot on...

BRAZIL v GERMANY

With Neymar out and Thiago Silva banned I don’t fancy Brazil.

I’ve said all along that I don’t think they’re good enough and that they carry too many players, and I just think that against a team like Germany they will come up short.

When I watch them play it looks like they don’t really know what they’re doing; there’s no real shape to them and they don’t go: ‘Right, we’re Brazil, let’s go out and play’ either.

Thiago Silva will be a massive miss in this game because it leaves David Luiz and probably Dante, who everyone goes on about but isn’t really that good, at centre-half.

Dante plays at Bayern Munich where week after week in Germany no-one has a go at him, but when he came up against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he didn’t know what day it was.

He is nowhere near as good as Thiago Silva and all the German players will know his weaknesses and how to get at him, so him and David Luiz at the back? Germany will be licking their lips.

I knew that with the record Brazil had against Colombia that they would have the psychological edge and come through, but Germany will not be nervous at all and I see them going for this.

They were efficient against France without playing great football but I don’t see the point in defending against Brazil because there are loads of chances there for you.

If Germany sit back and play it tight that won’t work one bit and Brazil would have too much not to break them down sooner or later, so I think this will be a really open game.

Germany play so high up the field that guys like Hulk, who hasn’t been the best, and Willian will get a lot of chances because of their pace, but Brazil haven't been great and I think Germany will win this, with Thomas Muller being key.

He didn’t play up front against France with Miroslav Klose coming in but I think he'll play as a striker here because he has great movement and loves running off the ball.

That’s the sort of stuff that can kill the Brazilians because they do fall asleep a little bit.

PAUL PREDICTED: Brazil 2-3 Germany (AET)

ACTUAL SCORE: Brazil 1-7 Germany

Post to your View!

Be the first to post a comment on this story

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp praises Di Maria DNA

Jamie Redknapp says Angel di Maria can follow in the footsteps of Manchester United greats after his QPR masterclass...

Niall Quinn

Cost effective

Diego Costa has made life easier for Chelsea with his goalscoring, Niall Quinn says...

Dwight Yorke

Yorke challenges Agbonlahor

Dwight Yorke says Gabriel Agbonlahor must hit double figures after scoring the winner at Liverpool....

Latest News RSS feeds

New-look United rout QPR

New-look Manchester United rediscovered their spark as they crushed hapless Queens Park Rangers 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Ron return possible

The Supplement say Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United is 'feasible'.

Live transfer updates

Vincent Kompany hopes Yaya Toure will sign a new Man City deal, while Philippe Coutinho is ready to discuss a new Liverpool contract.

Van Gaal welcomes 'new start'

Louis van Gaal was pleased to see Manchester United make 'a new start' with a 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers.

Redknapp: Not too much wrong

Harry Redknapp refused to get too downbeat after seeing Queens Park Rangers hammered 4-0 at Manchester United.

Features

Angel di Maria shows why he can be the difference maker for Manchester United in emphatic 4-0 win over QPR

Angel di Maria shows why he can be the difference maker for Manchester United in emphatic 4-0 win over QPR

“Every time he gets on the ball it comes alive. The game just looks quicker when he’s on it.” Radamel Falcao might have been the focus of attention in the build-up but Gary Neville’s assessment of the game itself was spot on. It was Angel di Maria who stole the show against Queens Park Rangers.

Tom Cleverley kicks off his stay at Aston Villa with a 1-0 win at Liverpool and must now kickstart his career too

Tom Cleverley kicks off his stay at Aston Villa with a 1-0 win at Liverpool and must now kickstart his career too

“Cleverley had no physique, was wiry as hell, but he was as brave as a lion, had good feet and could score a goal.”

Danny Welbeck's Arsenal debut against Manchester City showcased his potential as well as his current limitations

Danny Welbeck's Arsenal debut against Manchester City showcased his potential as well as his current limitations

Arsenal fans. Meet Danny Welbeck. The England international had raised expectations after his brace against Switzerland earlier in the week and proceeded to produce a Gunners debut against Manchester City that offered plenty of encouragement without delivering the killing stroke.