Netherlands and Argentina were the first two teams to progress to the Quarterfinals of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2022. Their previous meeting ended in a win for the South Americans following a penalty shootout and they look to add a new chapter to their rivalry on Friday night at Lusail Stadium.
Argentina will be facing Barcelona’s midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who will come up against his former club teammate and one of the biggest legends of La Blaugrana, Lionel Messi.
They both have shared the dressing room for 2 years where they formed a strong bond, both being very pivotal for the Catalan club. The partnership came to an abrupt end in the summer of 2021, as the Argentine departed with a rather shocking exit.
With the Dutch facing the South American Team, it’s extremely important for them to find a way to nullify La Pulga who has been exceptional this season and forms the key component of Scaloni’s tactics.
During an interview with ESPN, The Dutch midfielder expressed his feelings about going head-on with his former teammate and how his team would try to neutralize his magic.
The player emphasized on being better as a unit than their opponents but admitted that the 7 time Ballon D’or winner is the most threatening of them all.
“He has been the difference-maker for 15 years, so there is not a defined way to stop him, otherwise everyone would have done it. I think we have to stop him as a team and that is not one person’s job,” de Jong added.
When asked if he stayed in touch with Messi after his departure, to which the midfielder said: “I have occasionally been in touch with him, but it is not the case that I text or call him every month or week.”
De Jong has been fairly decent for the Oranjes so far in his first-ever World Cup. But whether he and his teammates can find a spot in the last 4 of the tournament remains to be seen.