Dutch masters to dump Argentina out. Glenn Hoddle
I have stuck with Argentina to win the World Cup since the start – but in the last day or two I have changed my mind.
There will be little in this second semi-final ... but I’m going for the Dutch.
I think I’m allowed to do a U-turn, because the tournament can evolve, there can be changes, and there have been with injuries to key players, as well as fluctuations in fortunes. You then have to rely on the strength of your squad.
Argentina are average and they rely on Lionel Messi.
I’m staying in the same hotel as the Dutch squad here in Rio de Janeiro and I see them tucking into their breakfast every morning.
You can sense their confidence; it’s in the air, they have a huge belief that they are going to do it.
Before the Costa Rica game, I chatted to Tim Krul in reception. The Newcastle goalkeeper was not only totally supportive of the entire squad, but it also struck me what a nice guy he was.
I don’t think I’ve seen anything like Louis van Gaal’s decision to bring him on for the penalty shootout. But it was a shrewd decision. Apparently, Jasper Cillessen had never saved a penalty before.
The Dutch have notoriously been unable to achieve unity in previous tournaments, but not in this one.
And for that reason I have a sneaking feeling they will beat Argentina.
It won’t be easy for one reason - Messi. He is dangerous against any defence, and I think the Dutch defence is vulnerable and will certainly will exposed at times when Messi gets into his stride.
However, this is a game when Messi will need some help.
Maybe if Argentina had everyone fit, I might have stuck with them, but without Sergio Aguero and now Angel Di Maria, I think Holland will get over the line.
They hit teams on the counter attack, and I don’t see Argentina coping.
PREDICTION: HOLLAND TO REACH THE FINAL