Ever since the Final Draw for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ was made, the Netherlands and Argentina have been keeping tabs on each other, aware that there was a reasonable chance their paths could cross in the semi-finals. And that is exactly what has happened, with the two going head to head in Sao Paulo on Wednesday.
The match will be the fifth between the countries in the world finals, the first of them coming at Germany 1974, when Johan Cruyff scored twice as the Oranje routed La Albiceleste 4-0 in the second round, from which the Dutch emerged to reach the Final.
Argentina gained the sweetest revenge four years later in beating the men in orange 3-1 in the Final on home soil. Recalling his extra-time winner in an interview with FIFA.com, Mario Kempes said: “It wasn’t the most beautiful goal, but it was the most exciting. I think people were even trying to blow it over the line. It was touch and go, but it went in eventually.”
The Netherlands had to wait until France 1998 to gain consolation, with Dennis Bergkamp scoring a fabulous last-minute winner to give them a 2-1 quarter-final victory over an Argentina side coached by Daniel Passarella, who had lifted the Trophy against them 20 years earlier.
The last meeting to date came in the group phase at Germany 2006. Though the match looked to be one of the picks of the first round, it ended in a goalless draw that allowed the South Americans to advance as section winners.
The highlights of these four encounters are available for you to watch right here, and include Cruyff’s brace in 1974, Kempes’ Trophy-winning double four years later, Bergkamp’s cool-headed masterpiece in 1998 and a clutch of very familiar faces from 2006.
Click on the links and soak up the history of one of the World Cup’s classic match-ups.