Updated July. 07, 2014 05:43
The Netherlands has advanced to the semifinals by defeating Costa Rica through a penalty shootout after a fierce battle, but the European country is in hardly upbeat mood. Rather than enjoying thrilling joy for victory, the Netherlands feels regret for its lackluster performance in the match, as it was manipulated by the rival teams strategy. Since the two teams staged cut-throat competition through overtime, it is uncertain whether the Dutch players will be able to regain 100 percent their physical stamina before the semifinal match takes place.
However, the Netherlands has confidence in its supremacy due to past records and feels comfortable about Argentina, the opponent team in the semifinal. The Netherlands has been dominating Argentina over the years. Among a total of seven matches with Argentina, the Netherland has prevailed with four wins, two draws and one win. It had only one loss of 1-3 to the then host country at the final match of the 1978 World Cup in Argentina.
Notably, its advance to the quarterfinals at the 1998 World Cup in France gives "very cheering memory" for the Netherlands to seek shift in mood. At the time, the Netherlands and Argentina continued a neck-and-neck race of 1-1 draw until right before the closing, staging a fierce battle. At a time when the two teams were thinking of overtime play, Dennis Bergkamp, who had been widely active at the frontier, scored the finishing goal to crush Argentina.
Bergkamp skillfully stopped with his right foot a long pass that was diagonally crossed the defense line, dribbled through pullbacks, and kicked outside shot with his right foot to score the goal. His shot sent the spectators clad in orange to massive cheers. The goal, in which triple touches on the ball formed a gracious motion, is considered one of the most beautiful goals ever in the World Cup history. Bergkamp, who barely managed to join his team for his reluctance to fly due to acrophobia, became a legend of the Dutch soccer with this shot.
A critical shot will separate the winner and loser at the upcoming semifinal. The Netherlands, which must check one-man show by Argentinas Lionel Messi, is deeply missing the memories of Bergkamp. Due to Robin van Persie, the striker who has suffered deep slump by missing countless chances in the match of best 16 teams against Mexico and the quarterfinal against Costa Rica, Dutch soccer fans have strong expectations for emergence of a savior like Bergkamp. Who will be the striker to lead the Netherlands to the final for two consecutive World Cups by reviving the memories of the team defeating Argentina?