Dutch midfielder and Manchester City striker have both recovered from injury to feature for their respective nations, as they battle it out to face Germany or Brazil in the final
Wednesday’s second semi-final brings together two of the world’s most enthralling footballing nations in a repeat of the final from the last South American World Cup in Argentina in 1978.
Netherlands have confounded many people’s expectations by reaching the last four with a squad of which very little was expected. Whereas their reliance on a large number of Eredivisie-based players was thought to be a weakness, the impact of many of the lesser names has been a real strength in their run to the semi-finals.
Coach Louis van Gaal has needed such a boost from the supporting cast too, with pre-tournament injuries to Kevin Strootman and Stijn Schaars followed by the loss of Nigel De Jong in the early moments of the last-16 clash against Mexico.
Having stunned many by bringing on Tim Krul to make the winning penalty saves against Costa Rica in the last round, Van Gaal is set to hand first-choice keeper Jasper Cillessen the gloves once more against Argentina in what is likely to be an unchanged starting XI.
Van Gaal's opposite number Alejandro Sabella has no such luxury, with Angel Di Maria missing due to a thigh strain which is likely to rule him out of the rest of the tournament.
While Sergio Aguero returns after a leg muscle injury, Sabella must choose whether to give Ezequiel Lavezzi a start or bring in one of Fernando Gago or Maxi Rodriguez in Di Maria’s place.
Marcos Rojo’s return from suspension should see him start ahead of Jose Maria Basanta, while Federico Fernandez could again miss out in favour of Martin Demichelis.
NETHERLANDS: Cillessen; Vlaar, De Vrij, Martins Indi; Kuyt, Wijnaldum, Sneijder, Blind; Robben, Van Persie, Depay.
ARGENTINA: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo; M. Rodriguez, Gago, Biglia; Messi, Aguero, Higuain.
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