Germany crushed host country Brazil, 7-1 in the first World Cup Semi-Final. Expect a much more competitive Semi-Final when Argentina squares off against the Netherlands. Argentina and the Netherlands have only faced each other once in the 1978 World Cup final. Argentina prevailed 3-1 to win their first and only World Cup title. The Netherlands reached the World Cup final in 2010, but dropped the match to the heavily favored Spanish club. Thursday’s clash marks the fourth time Argentina has reached the Semi-Finals. 

Argentina will play without one of their star players, Angel Di Mara. Argentina only notched one goal and sorely missed Di Mara in their quarterfinal win over Belgium. Still, Argentina has the lethal Lionel Messi, who is arguably the best player in the world. Argentina went a perfect 3-0-0 during the group stage, but were tested in the knockout round. Argentina was able to prevail over the Swiss squad, but had to work hard to earn the victory in extra time. Messi set-up Di Mara’s game winning goal, but the match nearly went to penalty kicks. Argentina notched an early goal against Belgium, but the game was a grind. 

The Netherlands started the World Cup off with a bang by thrashing defending champion Spain, 5-1. The Netherlands finished the group stage by beating Australia, 3-2 and Chile, 2-0. In the knockout round, the Netherlands notched two very late goals to escape a scare from Mexico. The Netherlands needed penalty kicks to put away a very pesky Costa Rica club in the quarterfinals. The Netherlands have excelled in high leverage situations, but will that be enough to beat a World Class Argentina club?

Current World Cup odds have Argentina installed as a +140 outright winner while the Netherlands are slotted as a +240 outright winner. For either bet to cash, clubs will need to win the game in regulation. This game will be tightly contested, so I’m going to side with the Orange Crush as a value bet in this showdown. I’m worried about Di Mara’s absence and the Orange Crush have been great in high leverage situations. Lionel Messi is the pivotal player in this showdown, but the Netherlands pressure should somewhat slow down Messi. Take the Orange Crush at a discount for your World Cup picks.

Pick: The Netherlands +240