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SPORTS | 07-12-2022 09:56

Argentina versus the Netherlands: a classic match-up in World Cup history

The history of the World Cup has always had a place for Argentina versus the Netherlands.

Dennis Bergkamp's perfect control, the "papelitos" and tickertake of Buenos Aires stadiums, the contrast between orange and light-blue-and-white on the pitch – the history of the World Cup has always had a place for Argentina versus the Netherlands.

The clashes between the two sides have delivered legendary matches and now their quarter-final clash at Qatar 2022 is set to be one of the tournament's star duels.

With this latest edition of the Albiceleste versus the Oranje, the sixth at football's biggest tournament, the match becomes the third most repeated tie at World Cups, trailing Brazil v Sweden and Argentina v Germany or West Germany (seven times).

The Germans, before, during and after the East-West partition, also faced Yugoslavia six times (and Serbia once).


Cruyff's lesson

The two sides met in in the second round of the group stage on June 24, 1974 at the tournament hosted that year by West Germany.

A double from Johan Cruyff and some impressive Dutch total football completely overwhelmed the Argentines. The number 14's dribble leaves goalkeeper Daniel Carnevali trailing and his cross for Johnny Rep's goal was a delight. The second half is played at a pace set by an Oranje, full of long-legged ball artists. Cruyff himself, from a tight angle, rounds off the scoring.

The Netherlands emerge as 4-0 winners, destroying their opponents.


Kempes' brace in the final

On home soil, Argentina goy their revenge on June 25, 1978, defeating Netherlands 3-1 in the World Cup Final.

On that occasion the hero was striker Mario Kempes, He slipped between two orange defenders in a penalty area still dotted with white papers thrown from the stands to open the scoring. Then Dick Nanninga headed in an equaliser.

In a deafening atmosphere at River Plate's Monumental stadium, and with Argentine dictator Jorge Videla watching on, Kempes and his long hair burst into the penalty area to beat the Dutch in extra time, before Daniel Bertoni secures the win with a penalty.

Argentina became world champions for the first time.


Bergkamp's unforgettable goal

Netherlands 2 Argentina 1. The quarter-final of the World Cup hosted by France, July 4, 1998.

Dennis Bergkamp's talent lit up this third legendary duel in the sunshine of Marseille's Velodrome stadium. After goals from Patrick Kluivert and Claudio López in the first half had taken the match level, there were no goals again until the final minute, when the genius Arsenal forward scored a masterpiece, one of the greatest goals in World Cup history.

Watching it all the way, Bergkamp brought down a 60-metre pass like it was a balloon, taking an incredible touch and then finishing sublimely from a tight angle. A feast for the eyes.


Since then the tradition of outstanding matches has languished. The next two clashes ended 0-0 and do not live long in the collective memory (they were in the group stage in 2006 and in the semi-finals in 2014, where Argentina eventually went through on penalties)), before losing the final.

It is time to write a new chapter.

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