“It is an honor to play against him,” the Dutch captain said before denying any one-on-one comparisons ahead of the quarterfinal matchup at the Lusail Stadium. Despite the fact that Lionel Messi won the last time the two teams played club football together, Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk is concerned about the threat he poses to Argentina in Friday’s World Cup quarterfinal matchup.
After his team, Liverpool overcame a three-goal deficit in the first leg to defeat Barcelona and win the 2019 Champions League, Van Dijk referred to Messi as the best player he had ever played against. He repeated the remark in Qatar after the Dutch secured their place in the last eight. Before the match at the Lusail Stadium, Van Dijk said, “It is an honor to play against him,” avoiding any one-on-one comparisons.
“Nobody can do it all alone, we should think of a decent arrangement.” That was definitely the case during the 2014 World Cup, when Dutch coach Louis van Gaal had to prepare for the threat posed by Lionel Messi in the Brazil semi-final, despite the fact that they still lost. However, they discovered that defending against Messi requires teamwork.
Daley Blind, who was playing in central midfield and successfully cut off much of the Argentine’s supply line, also paid special attention to Messi and assigned him a center-back to man-mark him.
However, the South Americans prevailed and advanced to the championship game after a goalless draw and a penalty shootout.
Eight years later, Blind is the only player who has remained in the Dutch team. He now plays left wingback, but Messi, who is 35, plays a different role as a wandering striker for a new Argentina team.
Even though the first goal was a rebound and the second a stunning free kick, Messi had sucker punched Liverpool
However, Van Dijk and his teammates prevailed in the end, winning 4-0 at Anfield in the rematch and defeating Tottenham Hotspur in the final. However, the Dutch center-back was still profoundly influenced by Messi. You need to be extremely organized and defensively sharp. In an effort to make life difficult for us at the counter, they always looked for him.