This is, from almost all accounts, the most entertaining game of the day; two teams who both will be in the next round but are playing for the No. 1 spot or the No. 2. A win or a draw gives Argentina the nod, and a Netherlands win does it for the Dutch/ Netherlanders/ Hollandaise.
And with that world class bit of analysis, we present live-blogger Daniel Salama, who will take us home today. Give us your mindset deconstructions, play along in the comments and don't cry for the Dutch, Dutch.
Full Time: No goals, as both teams seemed happy just to have advanced, which makes sense, since the Ivory Coast gave both teams all the could handle last week, and playing Serbia couldn't have been much fun. I had a good time Live-Blogging for you guys, and thanks for reading. Unfortunately, the game was less enthralling than my dramatic 5-3 simulated Argentine victory, as played on Xbox against my good friend Kiesman yesterday, but it had its moments. Except for the moments.
91:45 Tevez sneaks in behind the Dutch defense, but volleys over the net. Last chance there.
91:10 It was the latter.
91:00 Another corner for the Dutch. A dramatic injury time winner, or a header that goes closer to the corner flag than the keeper?
89:00 Mascherano steps on a Dutchmen's heel, picking up a needless yellow card and we are into injury time.
88:00 Babel wins a corner, and after Van Der Vaart's corner is partially cleared, the Dutch win another corner.This time, Argentina gets the ball out.
86:00 The dutch sub in Hedwiges "And The Angry Inch" Maduro for Wesley Sneijder. Apparently, his name means Ultimate Warrior in dutch. Ironically, my parents though about naming me Superfly, but it wasn't deemed "jewish enough".
84:30 Van Der Vaart with a free kick from well out, and he misses high and wide.
83:30 Only 10 minutes left or so, including injury time. Expect the Dutch to try and snatch a goal and the group in these last few minutes. They have nothing tangible to lose.
81:30 The anonymous british announcer describes coach Jose Pekerman (fantastic last name) as unflappable and nervous. I think that's impossible.
81:00 More solid defending. I really thought the Dutch backup defenders would be worse.
78:30 Babel is called for a foul while trying to get open after a De Cler cross. Argentina sub in Aimar, the former golden boy of Argentine football and heir to Maradona's role as a #10, for Riquelme, the man who relegated him to the bench. They appear to be friends, though, which I find surprising.
77:30 Sorry for the sporadic posting, but the game has slowed down again.
75:30 Argentina breaks down the wing, but a dangerous cross from Cufre is cleared by the Dutch.
73:00 Tevez shimmies away from a defender, and gets off a nice low shot from just outside the area, but Van Der Sar dives and makes a fine save.
69:00 Apparently, Dutch defender Andre Oojer's last name is pronounced the same way as the Kool Aid man's expression of joy.
67:30 Messi is subbed off for Cruz, a real powerful striker who mostly serves as Adriano's understudy at Inter Milan. Tough game for the phenom, but you can see why he's so hyped, what with the dribbling and passing and such.
66:30 The Dutch sub off Van Persie for a midfielder, which makes no sense, since a tie does them no good. Cocu gets another chance, this time from much further away, and he fires wide.
65:30 Cocu gets a shot off from a bad angle in the box, after some bad Argentine defending, but Abbondanzieri, the Argentine keeper, gets a hand to it. Close call there.
65:00 Oooh. Tevez beats the offside trap after a chip pass, but the pass is a little slow, and he has to come back for it. He tries to fall down and claim a penalty.
64:30 Riquelme dribbles three men, but ends up too wide to do anything constructive with the ball.
62:00 Cambiasso goes down injured. That's two important role players for Argentina who have been injured. You need someone to play defence when the rest of the team is attacking, and two of Argentina's lunch pail types have now gone down.
61:00 Messi tries to dribble half the dutch team, but it doesn't really work. I like that when you're his age, it's the "exuberance of youth", but when you're Riquelme's age, it's selfishness.
57:30 The Dutch win a free kick from 25-30 yards out. Van Der Vaart fires well wide. If Italy was playing, I would have guessed both teams had been paid not to score, judging by all the missed shots.
55:30 Van Nistelrooy is subbed out, replaced by promising youngster Ryan Babel from Ajax.
54:00 The Dutch don't really look very threatening, even with a lot of possession.
52:00 Messis and Riquelme play a give and go and give and go and give, but Riquleme fires wide after the beautiful setup.
50:00 Team Argentina need a coach solely for corner kicks. And maybe a barber.
49:00 The Dutch move the ball around, and get it into the box, but poor control from Van Persie ruins the play.
45:30 We're back for the second half. Javier Mascherano, who plays in Argentina but will one day soon be sold for a large amount of money to a rich european side, skies a shot well over the Dutch net. Not to be outdone, possible Van Persie promptly fires a free kick with even less accuracy than Mascherano.
Halftime: Hmm, I won't ruin the Serbia-Ivory Coast halftime score for you, but I will say that it sounds like a really good game, so catch that later if you can.
As for this game, it's been a little dissapointing so far. Both teams are resting a couple of players, and that seems to have disrupted the flow of both sides. Argentina looked the stronger of the two teams, especially near the end, but both teams seem content with a draw. Let's hope tthe second half is a little more wide open and offensive, and I think it will be, since these teams are too good not to score.
I'm not sure if Americans get the same commercials we do here, but in Canada, we basically have two commercials for every single game. One is about a goofy guy and his friends who go to Germany, and are shocked that the World Cup game they want to see is sold out. The other is that Adidas ad with the litle kids drafting Zidane, Beckham and others on to their team. They're both perfectly fine commercials, but after watching them 1000 times, i'm ready to boycott Adidas and whatever product the first one is attempting to sell.
45:00 Only one minute of injury time, but Argentina almost make it count. Messi gets a shot on goal (The Audio on TSN is down, but I think it was Messi) but it's right at Van Der Sar.
43:00 The announcer on TSN describes the match as "cagey", which means both teams have been horrible in front of goal.
40:00 Argentina win their 357th corner of the half, but they get nothing out of it.
36:00 Sadly, no shots of Maradona's attractive daughter in the stands. Think it was awkard for her to see her Dad have his watch taken from his arm by Italian police, which happened because of the Capone-esque 31 Million in back taxes he owes that country?
34:00 Dutch win a corner, but it's wasted. Argentina breaks, and Tevez almost beats his man, but it's cleared for another corner, which Van Der Sar is able to punch away.
31:00 In what would have been a nice bit of irony, had he scored, Maxi controls the ball well after a crossfield pass, but is unable to cut inside and score, as Bergkamp did 8 years ago. Seriously, go to Youtube and search for Bergkamp + Argentina. It's really a great goal.
28:00 Argentina damn near scores twice in one minute. The first opportunity is a Riquelme free kick that a Dutch defender slams off his own crossbar. Then, a minute later, Maxi Rodriguez, who netted twice against Serbia, narrowly misses from 25 yards out.
26:00 Wow. Riquelme almost scores on a corner. That was impressive. Van Der Sar just got a hand to that. The ensuing corner is long (bad Demarcus Beasley style crossing so far from both sides), but Argentina win a free kick...
24:00 First sub, as Burdisso is replaced by Coloccini. I guess having Ruud Van Nistelrooy fall on him hurt more than we had previously though.
22:00 Argentina have a chance to counter attack, but choose to slow it down and pass it around a little. They look like they can pass the ball for hours, and pretty much do, until Tevez ruins the whole thing by running offside.
21:00 the Dutch really need to learn to cross.
18:00 This game is really starting to pick up. Looks like the Dutch are trying to slowly break down the Argies, while Riquelme and Co. are happy to counter attack with speed. It started slow, but goals look to be coming.
16:00 Argentina show off their passing game, and Tevez almost curls a left footer in. A close up shows him to be missing several teeth, Mark Messier style. Wow. The Dutch come right back and almost score. Kuyt stole the ball inside the 18 and almost roofed it. Nice save kept it out, though.
14:00 Burdisso comes back on the field, and the Argies gain possession, but Riquelme's hrough pass is uncharacteristically bad, and goes out for a goal kick.
11:30 Kuyt crosses again, and this one is a little better, and forces a corner. It comes to nothing, except an injury for Burdisso, Argentina's right back. Van Nistelrooy fell on him, and since he looks like a horse, that would make Burdisso the jockey in this spill.
10:00 Both teams "feeling each other out", to use a vaguely dirty cliche. The Dutch work the ball down to Dirk Kuyt on the left wing, but his cross is long and goes out for a goal kick.
7:00 Heh. Messi is in the game too (bad job on the starting lineups World Soccer!) and he makes a nice pass to send Cambiasso in on goal, but a last second from one of the Dutch defenders saves the Oranje.
5.00 Argentina win a corner, and it's a nice delivery from Riquelme (who is playing, apparently). Holland clears it, and counter attacks, but it goes nowhere.
3:30: Dutch get a bit of possesion in the Argentina half, and win a free kick. First real opportunity of the match.Van Persie takes it, but it's not very good, and is grabbed by the keeper.
1:40 In the first real action in the game, Van Nistelrooy bowls over Ayala, and the Argies win a free kick.
0:00: Hello Ladies and Gentlemen. As will said, my name is Daniel, and i'll be watching this game on TSN, which is Canada's version of ESPN, except here the marquee show is spelled Sportscentre.
As for the actual game, this could be a great one! The Netherlands played in the best game of Euro 2004 (A 3-2 loss to the Czechs), while in their last game Argentina beat Serbia and Montenegro so convincingly, and with such flair, that the latter country promptly (or retroactively by a week, but that ruins the joke) split in half.
The last time these two teams played each other, in France '98, the Dutch edged out the Argies in injury time, by virtue of a sublime goal from the foot of Dennis Bergkamp.
Both teams are through to the second round, and since Argentina has a huge edge in goal differential, a tie will suffice for them to top the group. The reward for winnning the group? You get to play Mexico, who couldn't score on Angola rather than the Portugese, who finished group play with the maximum 9 points after beating Mexico 2-1 this morning. The Portugese rested half their starting lineup (Foreshadowing people!) and still won the game.
Your probable starting lineups, courtesy of www.Worldsoccer.com
Argentina: Abbondanzieri; Burdisso, Ayala, Milito, Sorin; Rodriguez,
Mascherano, Cambiasso; Aimar; Tevez, Cruz
So, if you were hoping to see Riquelme, Crespo, Heinze or Saviola you're out of
luck. They're resting, either because they have a yellow card (and if they get
a second, that means they miss Argentina's Round of 16 match) or because
they're tired, presumably from running for president,
Leo Messi, should come in off the bench at some point, and he's a real treat to
Holland: Van der Sar; Kromkamp, Boulaharouz, Jaliens, De Cler; Van der Vaart,
Sneijder, Cocu; Kuyt, Van Nistelrooy, Van Persie
The Netherlands are resting their entire defence, against the highest scoring
team in the tourmanent. Coach Marco Van Basten is either really confident in
his backups, or he bet on Argentina (probably through the Italians, natch).
Strong midfield and forwards though, with Robin "Kobe" Van Persie playing
especially well at the moment, and only Arjen Robben, who possesses a 22 year
old's speed, and a 40 year old's receding hairline, being rested from the
Netherlands' big 3 up front.