Netherlands must be 'very sharp' to stop Messi's Argentina, warns Van Dijk

Published December 6th, 2022 - 01:11 GMT
Netherlands' defender #04 Virgil van Dijk reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between the Netherlands and USA at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on December 3, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
Netherlands' defender #04 Virgil van Dijk reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match between the Netherlands and USA at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on December 3, 2022. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
Highlights
Messi's Argentina face Oranje in quarter-finals
Star attacker inspired win against Australia
Van Dijk wary of threat forward poses

Virgil van Dijk has warned the Netherlands that Lionel Messi is always ''chilling somewhere'' ahead of their World Cup clash with Argentina.

WHAT HAPPENED? Messi was the star of the show as his side beat Australia 2-1 to progress beyond the last 16 of the competition, setting up a showdown with the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. Van Dijk is aware that Messi can make the difference in any game, as he experienced when the forward inspired Barcelona to a 3-0 win against Liverpool in the 2019 Champions League.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The difficult thing about him is when we are attacking, he is chilling somewhere in a corner or something," Van Dijk said to reporters. "You have to be so very sharp in terms of defensive organisation. They always looked for him to try to make it difficult for us on the counter."

He added: ''It is not me against him, or the Netherlands against him, but the Netherlands against Argentina. No one can do it on his own, we will have to come up with a good plan.''

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Netherlands have not beaten Argentina since 2003. The last time they met was in the 2014 semi-finals when Argentina beat the Oranje on penalties to secure a place in the final.

WHAT NEXT FOR VAN DIJK? Netherlands and Argentina go head-to-head on Friday and the winner will go on to meet Brazil or Croatia in the semi-finals.

By Peter McVitie


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