Lionel Messi Argentina
The pressure will be on Lionel Messi to take Argentina to their first World Cup final since 1990 with victory over the Netherlands in the semifinalReuters

Netherlands and Argentina would have watched those incredible scenes in Belo Horizonte and wondered what could be in store for them in the second semifinal of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Sao Paulo – will it be another ridiculously one-sided encounter with one team just jumping out of the traps quicker and never looking back, will it be an open end-to-end match with both teams putting on an attacking show, or will it be a tight match, with neither side ready to open themselves up and face the consequences like Brazil did so unbelievably against Germany.

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The second semifinal is set for a 5 pm local time (1.30 am IST, 9 pm BST, 4 pm ET) start with live coverage on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India HERE. Viewers in the US can catch the action on ESPN and ABC, with the option to live stream the game HERE or HERE. UK viewers can catch the action in BBC and ITV while the matches can also be live streamed HERE or HERE. Catch the game in Australia HERE, while South Africa viewers can do so HERE. The match can be live streamed by viewers in the Netherlands HERE, while audience in Argentina and South America can do the same HERE, the Middle East and North Africa can live stream the match HERE.

For the fans' sake, hopefully it will be the middle one – two teams that love to attack, in different style one might add, and score goals. But then, while Netherlands and Argentina have brilliant attacking lineups, they have also been two of the best defensive teams in this World Cup.

Holland have conceded only four goals all World Cup, while Argentina are just that little bit better having given away a mere three goals. So, evidence points towards another tight, tense knockout encounter, with that little bit of magic from one of the players (read Lionel Messi or Arjen Robben) probably winning their side the game.

"Argentina are playing very organised [football] when the opponent has the ball, and when they have the ball I think the tactics are adapted to the quality of Messi," Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal told FIFA's official website. "And they have not only Messi but also prolific players like [Sergio] Aguero, [Angel] Di Maria, [Ezequiel] Lavezzi, [Rodrigo] Palacio, so they are a very dangerous team.

"And when they are ahead they close the door for every opponent, so it's better that we score the first goal. I think it will be a balanced game. Perhaps the luckiest team will win."

Van Gaal masterminded Netherlands' narrow penalty shootout victory over Costa Rica in the quarterfinals, taking a punt on goalkeeper Tim Krul, who replaced No.1 choice Jasper Cillessen right at the end of extra time before pulling off two brilliant saves to take his side through.

The Dutch coach has been rightly praised around the world for the manner in which he has woven a tight unit, despite Holland having plenty of players playing in their first World Cup, and indeed their first major international tournament.

At the other end, you have Alejandro Sabella, who has gone about doing his job quietly, allowing his players to take the plaudits and staying in the background. Sabella has also done pretty well to shore Argentina's ship at the back, while allowing Messi to express himself while going forward.

Make no mistake, this Argentina team is Messi's and if the little magician comes to the fore on Wednesday evening in Sao Paulo, the Dutch could be in for a long day. "Messi is the world's best player, he gives us inspiration, makes us believe we can be champions," said midfielder Javier Mascherano, who has been one of the best players at this World Cup without getting too much recognition. "He's from outer space."

Arjen Robben Netherlands
Netherlands will bank on the pace and finesse of Arjen RobbenReuters

While Argentina have Messi, Netherlands have their own left-footed wonder in Arjen Robben, who has just come to the fore at this World Cup for his country. Against Costa Rica, when the likes of Robin Van Persie looked like he could barely walk with the match going into extra time, Robben looked fresher than a daisy, pumping his team up, demanding the ball and driving forward at every opportunity.

Argentina will have to be alert at all times in this match, because Robben has the ability to flick that switch to deadly effect in the blink of an eye. "He is player who can throw you off balance in a one-on-one, so we have to be especially careful with that, have players close, that is to say as grouped as possible. When he picks up speed, it is much more difficult to take the ball away from him."

There is plenty of World Cup history between these two teams as well with Argentina winning the 1978 World Cup by beating Holland in the 1978 final, while the Netherlands got the better of Argentina in the 1998 World Cup quarterfinal courtesy that magical Dennis Bergkamp goal, a match which had Sabella in the losing team's coaching staff.

The Dutch certainly have plenty of players in their locker capable of doing a Bergkamp and producing that bit of magic; but so do Argentina – so, expect a few moments of a mystical quality come Wednesday.

Team news: Netherlands: Skipper Robin Van Persie missed training on Tuesday due to illness and is a doubt for the semifinal. "He has some stomach problems, some intestinal problems, so it's best not to train him," Van Gaal said. "We have more than a day to go and Van Persie is a very important player for us."

If Van Persie fails to make it, Klass-Jan Huntelaar will most likely start, but Van Gaal will also have the option of bringing in Jeremain Lens to play alongside Robben, just to add that bit of extra pace.

Van Gaal is also worried about the fitness of central defender Ron Vlaar, who is struggling with a knee problem, but Nigel De Jong could make a stunning return from a groin injury after returning to training, even if the coach said it would be a miracle if the midfielder were declared fit to play.

Argentina: Angel Di Maria will be a major miss for the South Americans, with the midfielder ruled out with a thigh injury. Left-back Marcos Rojo returns from suspension and should replace Jose Basanta, while Sergio Aguero also might be ready for some involvement.

Key men: Netherlands: While Robben is the obvious choice, Van Persie, if passed fit, also needs to find his goalscoring form again after failing to find the net following an explosive start to the tournament.

Argentina: Mascherano has been brilliant for his team anchoring the midfield, and the Barcelona man will need to be at his best again to stop the likes of Robben marauding into dangerous territory. Also, Gonzalo Higuain will be keen to keep scoring after notching his first goal of the tournament in the 1-0 win over Belgium in the quarterfinals.

Expected lineups: Netherlands: Cillessen; Kuyt, De Vrij, Vlaar, Martins Indi, Blind; Wijnaldum, Sneijder; Robben, Van Persie, Depay.

Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Perez; Messi, Higuain, Lavezzi.

Prediction: 3-2 to Netherlands

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