World Cup Daily: Who will face Germany?

World Cup Daily: Who will face Germany?
July 9, 2014, 9:30 am
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Match of the Day: Netherlands vs. Argentina, 4 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Yeah, again, this is an obvious answer because it is the only game of the day. This is a dream matchup in the semifinals after Luis Suarez took a bite out of his and Uruguay's chances to go far in this tournament. Netherlands got here with one of the easiest of roads to the semifinal, whereas Argentina had to knock off two seeded teams in Switzerland and Belgium. The teams have met recently, the 1998 World Cup to be specific, and it was a classic. I imagine this will be quite similar. 

Players of the Day: F Arjen Robben, Netherlands/F Lionel Messi, Argentina

The two vastly different leaders of their respective teams and best threat to score will be relied upon heavily to help their team through. Robben was all over the place in the Netherlands quarterfinal win over Costa Rica, but couldn't get on the scoresheet. He was attacking the box with his usual flair and dramatics, as he earned multiple free kicks and his acting earned a few more. That said, could a brewing goalie controversy hurt the Dutch in the semifinal? Jasper Cillissen had been the No. 1 keeper, but was benched for penalty kicks against Costa Rica. Cillissen expects to be back as the starter, but could his benching be an issue?

Meanwhile, Messi will be counted on even more heavily now that is running mate Angel di Maria will miss the game. Messi didn't score against Belgium in the quarterfinal, but was a terror on the field for the Red Devils. He finally got some help from Gonzalo Higuain, but he's not a sure thing for Argentina.

Unsung Heroes: D Pablo Zabaleta, Argentina/D Daley Blind, Netherlands

Both players get up the flank against opposing defenses, so it will be interesting to see them on the same field. Blind had two assists in his opening game against Spain, but has been somewhat quiet since. Zabaleta doesn't get as much credit for Argentina, but between he and Ezequiel Garay they do a solid job of shutting down opposing forwards. 

World Cup Rewind: Germany blasted Brazil, 7-1, and broke the hearts of the host nation. Germany looks like a completely different team with a healthy Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira. I still wouldn't have started Mesut Ozil, but that's just me. Andre Schurrle has more than proven he is capable of starting. 

Prediction: Argentina 2, Netherlands 1.