Argentina predicted lineup vs Netherlands - World Cup quarter-final

Lionel Scaloni was on the bench when Argentina were beaten on penalties in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final by Germany
Lionel Scaloni was on the bench when Argentina were beaten on penalties in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final by Germany / Michael Steele/GettyImages

Argentina face the Netherlands in a mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final on Friday night.

Lionel Scaloni has tinkered with his lineup throughout the tournament but was keen to keep everyone guessing even after improved performances. "If you've seen our matches, you know I don't always play the same players," Scaloni stressed. "I focus on every single match and adapt the team for the match. Very rarely have I repeated the starting XI."

Here's the tweaked XI Scaloni may deploy against the Dutch.

Argentina predicted lineup vs Netherlands (3-5-2)

Rodrigo De Paul
Rodrigo De Paul has made more sprints (230) than any other Argentine player at this World Cup / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

GK: Emi Martinez - Nicknamed 'Dibu' after the lead character in 'Mi familia es un dibujo' (My familiy is a drawing) despite bearing little resemblance to the freckled, red-haired child.

CB: Cristian Romero - Singled out for praise by Lionel Messi after an "impressive" performance against Australia.

CB: Nicolas Otamendi - The only World Cup quarter-final Otamendi has contested ended in a 4-0 thumping dished out by Germany in 2010.

CB: Lisandro Martinez - The Manchester United centre-back could be drafted in if Scaloni switches to a back-three and didn't do his standing in the squad any harm after a goal-saving tackle to stop Australia's Aziz Behich mid-flow.

RWB: Nahuel Molina - Atletico Madrid's €20m summer acquisition was sent off on his home debut. Molina has never even been booked for the national team.

CM: Rodrigo De Paul - The role De Paul has in this team can be as simple as making life easier for Messi. “A lot of the time, the analysis that I do while I’m playing leads me to try to make him run less,” De Paul admitted.

CM: Enzo Fernandez - Of players left in the World Cup, Fernandez is averaging a competition-high 11.2 passes into the final third per 90.

CM: Alexis Mac Allister - Brighton’s midfielder is under no illusions as to where the team’s focus should be; Messi. “I always try to pass to him, try to make sure the ball gets to him because if he has it everything’s much easier,” Mac Allister said.

LWB: Marcos Acuna - After establishing himself in the Racing side which won the league in 2014, Acuna was treated to a hero's welcome on the return to his modest hometown of Zapala, paraded through the streets on a fire truck.

ST: Lionel Messi - On his 1,000th professional appearance, Messi drew level with Matthew Upson for World Cup knockout goals scored (one).

ST: Julian Alvarez - From the sounds of it, Messi may be more popular in the Alvarez household than Julian. “Messi has been my idol since I was a child,” he told Manchester City's website ahead of his arrival. “He is my family's idol, the idol of my brothers too."

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Sean Walsh, Ali Rampling and Brian Goldfarb to look back on the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil - join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download or listen to the episode in full!