A pair of true football heavyweights are set to clash in the quarterfinals of the 2022 World Cup after the Netherlands and Argentina both booked passage into the next round of the knockout stages, resuming a hotly-contested tournament rivalry dating back to 1973-74.
Louis van Gaal’s Oranje overcame a credible young United States side under Gregg Berhalter in a 3-1 win at Khalifa International Stadium after a headline performance from Inter Milan right-back Denzel Dumfries, while Lionel Messi set yet another historic marker in service of his country while helping La Albiceleste be spared further blushes this winter in a narrow 2-1 win over a doggedly-determined Australia. But this is an upcoming matchup with a long history on the world stage; one that has featured some of the greatest names to ever represent both nations at a World Cup.
All told, the Netherlands leads the head-to-head across both World Cup play and friendlies to the tune of a narrow 4-2-3 record while scoring 22 goals and surrendering 18 at the other end. And perhaps most impressively, this is a matchup that historically features little if any separation on the scoresheet, with only two of the nine meetings ending in a goal difference greater than one.
When it comes to World Cup clashes in isolation, the situation is on an even keel with both nations winning two, with the only draw of the matchup coming back in 2006 where the tie ended 0-0.
But when it comes to drama, there has been plenty on offer when these two historic nations have met, with extra time being needed in three of their five meetings at the World Cup, with their most recent clash coming down to penalties in Brazil eight years ago that saw Argentina prevail 4-2 en route to the final against Germany.
It was a revenge moment for the South American giants after Dutch legend Dennis Bergkamp scored his wondergoal to lead the Dutch into the semi-finals at France ‘98 while breaking Argentine hearts in stunning fashion. That result was also one crafted on revenge after Argentina, led by Mario Kempes, won 3-1 in extra time in 1978 final.
Despite being separated by thousands of miles, historic moments enmeshing the two nations together on the football pitch is what makes the World Cup what it is, and given the talent on offer set to lock horns at Lusail Iconic Stadium on Friday night, this quarterfinal tie has all the makings of another iconic clash.