Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Hollande wants to settle pending account with Messi and Argentina

DOHA ( Associated Press) – Louis van Gaal claimed star Lionel Messi didn’t touch the ball the last time he faced him with the Netherlands.

Will his strategy work on Friday like in Brazil 2014?

Argentina and the Netherlands will meet in the World Cup quarter-finals at Doha’s Lusail Stadium, in a repeat of the semi-final duel that the South Americans won on penalties eight years ago.

True, Messi was no different that day, but he scored a penalty that put Argentina through to the final.

The current Messi is older, but also wiser. In Qatar, his fifth and probably last World Cup, the 35-year-old captain was instrumental in Argentina’s all-win win with three goals and one assist. He has his eyes on the missing trophy and is not ready to let it go.

However, the 71-year-old coach – the oldest in the tournament – did not want to reveal how he would handle Messi.

“We are not going to reveal our strategy to you. It would be quite stupid to reveal your own strategy,” he replied to the reporter who asked him the question at Thursday’s pre-game press conference. “It’s not that hard to find the answer. You could have found the answer yourself. He can block and close the passing lanes.”

Obsessed about strategy and field work, Van Gaal is a Netherlands custodian who has gone 19 games unbeaten, with Frankie de Jong as game organiser; Winger Denzel Dumfries as an offensive weapon on the right wing and two scorers who should not be neglected, Memphis Depay and Cody Gapko.

Having recovered from prostate cancer, Van Gaal wants to end the curse in the Middle East with the Orange: three world runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010.

“The real World Cup starts for us tomorrow,” Van Gaal warned. “I don’t want to downplay the importance of the previous games. But Argentina and Brazil are probably teams of a different caliber in the next round.

Depay admitted that it would also be special for him to face Argentina, who he remembers with bitterness as he was part of the team that lost eight years ago. “I really want to get rid of this sour taste of 2014, I would like to turn it into tomorrow’s game.”

Any special plans in case luck is redefined in penalty?

“We are preparing for that, (but) we expect to win the game in 90 minutes,” said the Barcelona player.

In Argentina – world champion in 1978 and 1986 – his colleague Lionel Scaloni, a few years younger but more studious of strategy and tactics, also went on an undefeated run before the World Cup and after the defeat the team was shipwrecked. Rescued. Against Saudi Arabia on debut.

“It is a very balanced team, everyone defends and everyone attacks. This is the summary of football now”, Scaloni analyzed his opponent. “Tomorrow’s game will be great to watch, with two teams whom we propose to attack without neglecting the defense. Football goes like that”.

Argentina’s coach is evaluating a change of wings and planning in relation to the team, which beat Australia 2-1 in the round of 16. But in the last few hours an unexpected incident happened with midfielder Rodrigo de Paul, the footballer with the most games in his cycle. He has a hamstring problem and is doubtful to play on Friday.

Leandro Paredes will replace him.

“I wouldn’t dare say whether or not he’s there (to play De Paul), you’ll never know until game day … If we’re clear that the player going out on the field has to be in the national team.” The best position to provide what’s best for the team”, insisted Scaloni.

At the same time, the coach has available winger Ángel Di María, who has recovered from a concussion and who could be key to the tactical duel on the wings against the Netherlands.

The winner of this crossing will await the duel between Brazil and Croatia on the same day.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.
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