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Netherlands vs. Argentina
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Netherlands vs. Argentina

Kickoff: Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Arena Corinthians
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil Line:
Argentina +140, Netherlands +207, Tie after Regulation +225
Over/Under: 2.5 Goals (Over +170, Under -192)

Argentina hopes to celebrate its nation's Independence Day on Wednesday when it meets the Netherlands in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup.

Neither team has had an easy path to the semifinals, as the Dutch trailed Mexico by a 1-0 score 87 minutes into their Round of 16 match before scoring twice in a seven-minute span to win 2-1. The game-winner came on a disputed penalty kick. Then in the quarterfinals, the Netherlands needed a penalty-kick shootout to decide a scoreless match with heavy underdog Costa Rica. Backup goalkeeper Tim Krul, a last-minute substitution for the shorter Jasper Cillessen, saved two shots to lead the Netherlands to victory.

The Maracana has won all five of its matches in this tournament, with all five victories coming by a one-goal margin. In the Round of 16 contest, Argentina failed to score until the 118th minute in a 1-0 win over Switzerland, but got on the board in the 8th minute in the quarterfinals and barely held on for a 1-0 win over Belgium. That sent the Maracana into the semifinal round for the first time since 1990 to meet a Dutch club that will be playing in its third semifinal in the past five World Cups, a run that includes a runner-up showing in 2010 when it fell 1-0 to Spain.

While Argentina is likely to see the return of forward Sergio Aguero, who missed the quarterfinal match because of a thigh injury, the team will be without starting midfielder Angel di Maria, who suffered a thigh injury of his own in the win over Belgium. The Netherlands will once again be missing defensive-minded midfielder Nigel de Jong, who suffered a groin injury versus Mexico. His likely replacement, Leroy Fer, is also hurting with an injured hamstring is considered questionable for Wednesday.

This is a rematch of the 1978 final when Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 in extra time. However, the Dutch returned the favor by beating the Maracana in the 1988 World Cup quarterfinals.

The Netherlands had scored multiple goals in each of their first four World Cup matches, outscoring their opponents by a wide 12-4 margin, but were unable to score against Costa Rica despite 20 total shots, with 15 of those going on goal. The Dutch allowed only six total shots (three on goal) to the Ticos, and held sizable advantages in possession (64% to 36%) and corner kicks (11-1). But the Netherlands played sloppy in the quarterfinal win, committing 15 fouls and picking up two potential costly yellow cards (defender Bruno Martins and forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar), while being whistled for 13 offsides. Plenty of Dutch players have tallied in the goal-scoring column in this tournament so far, a list that includes the club's top player, forward Arjen Robben (three goals), forward Robin van Persie (three goals) and forward Memphis Depay (two goals).

Superstar Lionel Messi has arguably been the best player in the World Cup, and has carried Argentina with four of his team's seven goals, and he also set up teammate Angel di Maria's one-timer with a perfect pass at the 118th minute to escape past Switzerland in the Round of 16. Messi has made 180 passes in the tournament despite constant double and triple teaming from opponents. The other three World Cup tallies for the Maracana came on a fortunate own goal by Bosnia-Herzegovina, Marcos Rojo's game-winner versus Nigeria and Gonzalo Higuain's volley in the 8th minute for the lone goal of the quarterfinal victory.

Although Argentina has not dominated in this tournament as many experts expected they would versus a perceived weak schedule, they have won possession in all five matches with 55% against Bosnia-Herzegovina, a whopping 70% versus Iran, 57% against Nigeria, 61% versus the Swiss and a slight 51% advantage against Belgium. The Maracana have also fired 39 shots in the knockout stage with 29 going on goal (74%), giving them 57 total shots with 42 on net (74%) in the past three matches combined. After generating only two corner-kick chances in their World Cup opener, they have produced 38 corner kicks over the past four contests, totaling 16 in the two knockout-stage wins.

The Maracana played a very clean tournament in group play with only 24 total fouls and one yellow card (Rojo). However, in the knockout stage, they have been whistled for 30 fouls, including four yellow cards (Rojo, di Maria, midfielder Lucas Biglia and defender Ezequiel Garay). Rojo was not allowed to play in the quarterfinals because of his two yellow cards, but he will be back to help his team on Wednesday.

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Netherlands vs. Argentina Propositions

First Goal Scorer

Lionel Messi 15/4
Robin van Persie 19/4
Sergio Aguero 5/1
Gonzalo Higuain 5/1
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 11/2
Arjen Robben 6/1
Rodrigo Palacio 13/2
Ezequiel Lavezzi 15/2
Memphis Depay 8/1
Jeremain Lens 8/1
Wesley Sneijder 8/1
Georginio Wijnaldum 17/2
Maxi Rodriguez 17/2
Dirk Kuyt 19/2
Ricardo Alvarez 12/1
Augusto Fernandez 14/1
Leroy Fer 16/1
Enzo Perez 18/1
Jonathan de Guzman 18/1
Jordy Clasie 20/1
Lucas Biglia 22/1
Fernando Gago 25/1
Paul Verhaegh 28/1
Federico Fernandez 28/1
Pablo Zabaleta 33/1
Martin Demichelis 33/1
Marcos Rojo 33/1
Jose Basanta 33/1
Joel Veltman 33/1
Javier Mascherano 33/1
Stefan de Vrij 33/1
Ezequiel Garay 33/1
Daryl Janmaat 33/1
Daley Blind 33/1
Ron Vlaar 33/1
Bruno Martins Indi 33/1
Terence Kongolo 40/1
Hugo Campagnaro 40/1

To Score Anytime

Lionel Messi 1/1
Robin van Persie 6/5
Gonzalo Higuain 17/10
Sergio Aguero 17/10
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 7/4
Arjen Robben 7/4
Rodrigo Palacio 2/1
Ezequiel Lavezzi 12/5
Wesley Sneijder 13/5
Memphis Depay 11/4
Dirk Kuyt 3/1
Jeremain Lens 3/1
Maxi Rodriguez 7/2
Ricardo Alvarez 19/5
Georginio Wijnaldum 9/2
Augusto Fernandez 5/1
Jonathan de Guzman 6/1
Enzo Perez 6/1
Leroy Fer 6/1
Fernando Gago 7/1
Lucas Biglia 7/1
Jordy Clasie 15/2
Marcos Rojo 9/1
Javier Mascherano 9/1
Pablo Zabaleta 9/1
Federico Fernandez 9/1
Ezequiel Garay 9/1
Daley Blind 19/2
Ron Vlaar 19/2
Bruno Martins Indi 19/2
Stefan de Vrij 19/2
Daryl Janmaat 11/1
Jose Basanta 11/1
Hugo Campagnaro 11/1
Martin Demichelis 11/1
Joel Veltman 11/1
Paul Verhaegh 11/1
Terence Kongolo 16/1

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