Argentina won 2-1 against Australia. The start to the tournament was shaky as the Messi-led side lost 1-2 against Saudi Arabia in the opening fixture of Group C. Argentina has successfully left that upset behind to move one step closer to lifting the champions’ trophy.
The Netherlands, too, topped their respective group with two wins and one draw against Ecuador. Gaal’s side has conceded only two goals so far and found the net a total of eight times. It’s pretty impressive, but knockouts give you only one chance to advance to the next stage.
Messi has often been seen as a lone fighter, keeping everyone’s hopes alive. Gaal may not necessarily agree with this statement; however, he has drafted a backup plan for just-in-case situations. It specifically targets the Argentinian captain by pinpointing his weakness.
Gaal appeared at a media conference to appreciate Messi’s capability of tackling the ball among his opponents. He later said that the Netherlands will be going against his flaw to ensure that they qualify for the semi-finals.
Gaal has stated that while Messi is an innovative player, he rarely attempts when the ball is taken away from him, and that is what the Netherlands is looking to target. A clear tactical plan, Gaal adds, will be shown on the field when both teams come face-to-face.
Argentina and the Netherlands previously met in the semi-finals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The event went to the shootout session, where Argentina scored 4 goals vs. 2 goals scored by the Netherlands. Germany, on the other hand, beat Brazil 7-1. By defeating Brazil 3-0, the Netherlands was able to secure third place in that World Cup. Argentina, on the other hand, missed out on lifting the trophy by a solitary goal.
Gaal is sure to redeem that loss. Argentina may remain on the lookout to avoid the penalty round. A faster qualification will, after all, taste sweeter.
Gaal went on to say that Messi is the most dangerous creative player and that he can create chances to score goals.The Netherlands looks to capitalize on the opportunity where Messi’s ball is taken away without any follow-up from his side.
This will be challenging considering Messi’s excellent form. He arrives after scoring his first-ever goal in the FIFA World Cup knockout stage. To date, he has scored 789 goals in his career. Messi expects to continue the increase. Since this is the final World Cup, he will leave no stone unturned to increase the total. Argentina is equally eager to support him in all of his endeavors.
Many opponents thought Argentina’s game revolved around Messi. Gaal is aware that Argentina has many more players of the highest caliber. In other words, the Netherlands will enter the Quarterfinals well-prepared.