Dying ember dramatics expected when Holland face Argentina

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One game stands in the way of either Holland’s second consecutive World Cup final appearance or Argentina’s first since 1990.

The pair have plotted contrasting routes to this point of the tournament. La Albiceleste have relied heavily on Lionel Messi for results, while everyone from Holland’s manager to their strike duo has impressed.

Either way one side will fly home with a bitter taste in their mouth, but Ladbrokes customers don’t have to share the feeling with these three bets for the match:

Under 2.5 goals @ 1/2

With both sides just 90 minutes away from a World Cup final a cagey affair, out of sync with the tournament’s generally jaunty style to date, would be excused.

The pair’s history of failing to meet the 2.5-goal line adds weight to our confidence that this will be a game with little goal-mouth action.

All of the last three meetings between the two would have landed this punt, while four of Argentina’s last six outings have also obliged.

1st half to finish 0-0 @ 23/20

With little in the way of onion-bag action expected, there’s not really a surprise that we think the first half will be goalless.

However, history is guiding our hand here too as the second semi-final has finished 0-0 at the break in each of the last four World Cups, a trend that dates back to 1998.

Argentina to score first and Holland to score last @ 10/3

In all bar one of their five appearances in Brazil thus far, Messi’s men have opened the scoring.

At precisely the opposite end of the spectrum, Holland have been adept at providing what every football broadcaster worth his salt would dub “late drama”, scoring in the 80th minute or beyond in three of their five games.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.