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Netherlands, Argentina have tough act to follow after Germany blowout

By Jon Meoli

The Baltimore Sun

9:39 AM EDT, July 9, 2014

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Yesterday in one sentence: I have a scarf that says “Not in the face” in both Brazilian and English; I bet one of the Brazilian players wished they knew how to say it in German to stop that beating yesterday.

What's on tap: Argentina vs. Netherlands, 4 p.m., ESPN

What you’ll see: I’d say not to count on eight goals, but yesterday was supposed to be a tight affair, too, and it basically led to the biggest rout in World Cup history. Argentina and the Netherlands, however, aren’t likely coming into this match resigned that it was over for them the way Brazil did.

Argentina advanced past Belgium on a cracker from Gonzalo Higuain, and a combination of Higuain, Angel Di Maria, and Ezequiel Lavezzi were active and threatening throughout the match as complements to Lionel Messi. Di Maria is likely out against the Netherlands, which takes away an attacking option and could limit the Argentinean potential. But plenty of players on this team are capable of moments of brilliance, and all it takes is one and a strong defensive performance to move on to face Germany.

The Dutch have faced a pair of CONCACAF teams in the knockout rounds, though their young back line will certainly be ready for the Argentine attack.

As I was watching the Brazil-Germany match Tuesday, I couldn’t help but think about how Germany has almost looked in cruise control since they similarly smoked Portugal in the opening game of Group G. The only other team that put on such a dominant performance was the Netherlands, and it happened to be in its opening game as well, against Spain.

I don’t think Tuesday's avalanche of goals is possible because I don’t think Argentina will roll over like that. But I do believe there’s a level of play the Dutch haven’t had to reach since the sacking of Spain, and Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and company might be able to reach it again against Argentina.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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