Javier Mascherano

Javier Mascherano / PHOTO: FIFA.COM

Javier Mascherano and his team-mate Basanta talked to the press ahead of Argentina’s World Cup semi-final showdown with the Netherlands. It will be the first time that Argentina feature in the penultimate round of the competition since 1990. “It’s the first time in 24 years since we’ve been here. These are opportunities that rarely come along and you can’t let them slip away,” said the FC Barcelona player.

The Netherlands

Alejandro Sabella’s men will take on the Netherlands, a team managed by former FC Barcelona manager Louis van Gaal. “We know that the Netherlands are very dangerous on the counter, we will have to take precautions,” said Mascherano. He added: “Nothing is easy in the semi-final of a World Cup.”

“We’ve improved throughout the tournament,” said El Jefecito. “What we did against Belgium in the quarter-finals lived up to the expectations the people have for us, and we have to continue to live up to those expectations.”

Brazil ready for their semi-final without Neymar Jr

Meanwhile, at the Granja Comary training installations, Brazil are preparing for their semi-final against Germany. Neymar Jr, who picked up a back injury during the match against Colombia, has been ruled out for the rest of the competition. Brazil will also be without Thiago Silva, who is banned for one match due to card accumulation. Dani Alves, who didn’t start against Colombia, trained with the rest of his team-mates ahead of tomorrow’s match. If they win, the Brazilian national team will to dedicate the victory to Neymar Jr.