Argentina’s semi-final clash with the Netherlands in the final four of Brazil 2014 will be the fifth occasion in which these two storied football nations will meet at a World Cup.
Offside look back at the four most memorable instalments in this series through pictures.
West Germany 1974: Netherlands 4-0 Argentina (second group stage)
The Dutch and their Total Football announced themselves to the World Cup in 1974, spearheaded by Johan Cruyff and, from the dugout, Rinus Michels. Both men dazzled the tournament respectively with their tactics and turns but ultimately went unfulfilled as they were beaten by the hosts, West Germany, in the final.
Argentina met them in full-flow however, and were dismantled by the Oranje juggernaut in the second group stage. Cruyff himself bagged tow goals as the Dutch ran out 4-0 winners.
Argentina 1978: Argentina 3-1 Netherlands (World Cup final)
Cruyff wasn’t a part of the squad that headed over the Atlantic to try and right the wrongs of the Netherlands’ meltdown against the Germans in 1974 four years later in Argentina.
Yet the Dutch didn’t need their talisman to play their way to another final, again against the hosts, and again they came unstuck against the local favourites.
Argentina had their own mastermind on the sidelines—Cesar Luis Menotti—who, under the shadow of the military junta in control of the country at the time, guided Daniel Passarella & co. to a 3-1 victory to break Oranje hearts once more.
France 1998: Netherlands 2-1 Argentina (quarter-finals)
The two nations next met at a World Cup in Marseille to decide who would progress into the final four; a match decided by a Dennis Bergkamp wonder goal after an early exchange of goals from Patrick Kluivert and Claudio Lopez to make it 1-1.
Fouls and cautions followed—six yellow cards were issued—and in the second-half, Arthur Numan and Ariel Ortega received their marching orders to leave both teams with only 10 men each to end the match with.
Step up Bergkamp who fired down his balletic and decisive winning goal on the 90 minute mark to send the Dutch to meet eventual finalists Brazil in the semi-finals.
Argentina and Netherlands met again in the group stage of 2006, playing out a tepid 0-0 draw, but back in 2014 it seems unlikely that the two rival defences will be able to get off so easily, with the likes of Lionel Messi and Arjen Robben on the field.
Who will win and create the next batch of great images in this already epic collection of games?
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