Netherlands vs Argentina Odds, Pick | Who Will Advance to World Cup Semifinal?

Netherlands vs Argentina Odds, Pick | Who Will Advance to World Cup Semifinal? article feature image

Julian Finney/Getty. Pictured: Cody Gakpo.

Netherlands vs. Argentina Odds

Friday, Dec. 9
2 p.m. ET
Netherlands Odds+260
Argentina Odds+120
Over/Under2.5 (+130 / -163)
Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)(+100 / -134)
Odds via bet365. Get the latest World Cup odds here.

When the World Cup draw was released in April, both Argentina and the Netherlands were on a collision course to meet in the quarterfinals.

Both nations were the clear favorites to win their groups, and advancing one round in the knockouts meant that the winners of Group A (Netherlands) and Group C (Argentina) would meet in the second of four tournament groups.

The chalk held in this portion of the draw and while neither nation has played its best headed into this match, both have had moments of true quality. For Argentina, their dominant performance came in a 2-0 shutout win against Poland to win their group. For the Netherlands, it was the composed showing against the United States in the round of 16 with a 3-1 victory that sent a message.

These two sides last met in the 2014 semifinals. The match was a 0-0 draw and a quality tactical battle that saw Argentina advance in a penalty shootout. Eight years later and these two national teams have changed quite a bit. Here's what to expect in Friday's second quarterfinal:

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Netherlands Buoyed By World Class Coaching

The performances in the group stage were quite mediocre for the Dutch. They didn't lose any matches against Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar, but the attack really lacked an ability to turn final third possession into penalty area touches and shots.

Memphis was missing from the attack for large stretches of those matches due to his lack of fitness and Denzel Dumfries wasn't good at ball progression or creating chances in the penalty area as he recovered from injury.

Holland created less than 1 xG in the victory against Senegal and then followed it with two shots and 0.1 xG in a 1-1 draw with Ecuador in the second group stage match. Louis van Gaal moved defensive midfielder Marten de Roon into the team and finally was able to start Memphis in the last two matches.

The Dutch performances improved considerably with roughly 2 xG against Qatar and the United States.

BSR Agency/Getty. Pictured: Memphis Depay.

Instead of holding final third possession and keeping the ball against the United States, van Gaal ceded the midfield and opted to be lethal in transition attacks. The wing backs overwhelmed the United States and they produced a few great looks from ground crosses.

The Dutch manager is notorious for making tactical adjustments to take on his opponent ahead. Because Argentina don't offer a ton of width outside of Angel Di Maria, that does free up the Netherlands to potentially use Dumfries higher up the pitch in this match.

Holland also did an excellent job of keeping the United States out of zone 14, the area right outside the penalty area centrally. If Lionel Messi is able to pick up the ball in those spaces often, it's probably lights out for the Dutch. But with de Roon, Frenkie de Jong and three center backs on the pitch, the Netherlands should be able to funnel Messi into deeper areas and shunt the Argentina attack into wide positions.

I'm more inclined to believe in the Netherlands excellent form since van Gaal returned to the national team last summer, as opposed to a couple mediocre showings against Ecuador and Senegal.

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Argentina Getting Results Without Thriving

Argentina have played four matches at the World Cup and looked largely unimpressive in three of them.

The win against Mexico saw them create less than 0.5 xG. The loss against Saudi Arabia was certainly a fluke of sorts,  but Argentina had just 1.3 non-penalty xG. Against Australia, a goalie error gift from Mat Ryan and a moment of Messi magic masked an underwhelming showing.

In fact, Messi's goal was his first penalty area touch of the entire match. Australia — one of the worst defenses in qualifying based on underlying numbers — kept the Argentina side from creating overwhelming shot production.

The defense has remained stellar and aggressive with Cristian Romero and Nicolas Otamendi as the center back pairing. The Dutch will likely have Memphis come short to link with the midfield and attempt to draw out these very aggressive center backs. That could create space for Cody Gakpo (three World Cup goals) or Steven Bergwijn as a runner in behind the defense.

The defense for Argentina hasn't conceded much of anything at this tournament. Two excellent strikes from Saudi Arabia and a deflected own goal have largely come against the run of play. They are the only goals Argentina have conceded at this tournament.

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Netherlands vs. Argentina Pick

Argentina are the better side based on World Cup Qualifying results and underlying performances. The attack has had problems consistently creating chances in Qatar, however. Manager Lionel Scaloni has had problems getting consistent service into Messi in places where he can have the most impact on the match.

Messi has had to come deep to receive the ball and that's made it harder for him to also be in the penalty area pulling the strings on this Argentina attack.

The tactical ability of van Gaal to adjust to Argentina's weird ball progression system is what lands me on the Dutch here. They can win with possession, but they also showed against the United States that they can win by living in transition.

Their defense did concede 1.5 xGA against the United States and I think they'll concede one to Argentina given the quality of Argentina's attackers.

But, van Gaal's use of wide players for chance creation and ball progression is something Argentina has not seen in this tournament. The aggressive defending structure will be tested and the Dutch will be able to score and turn this match into a near a tossup.

I like a both teams to score bet at -115 or better and the Netherlands +0.5 at -150 or better.

The Picks: Netherlands +0.5 (-140) | Both Teams to Score (+100)

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