Lionel Messi is set to come up against former Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong in the quarter-finals of World Cup 2022.
The GOAT inspired Argentina to a 2-1 win over Australia on Saturday, while De Jong’s Netherlands side saw off the USMNT.
We are now set for a pretty intriguing quarter-final tie, with Messi already thinking about the game.
“We are going to have a very tough matchup against an opponent who plays very well, who is very difficult, who will want to get the ball from us, who have great players and a great coach,” he said. “I imagine a very hard-fought game. If the World Cup was difficult up to now, it gets harder in the quarterfinals.”
Argentina have been one of the favorites but were stunned by an opening defeat to Saudi Arabia. Wins over Mexico, Poland and Australia have since renewed optimism that Messi’s side can go all the way.
The Netherlands topped Group A on seven points and then beat the USMNT, with Memphis Depay, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumfries all on target.
De Jong admitted after the game that he’d been a “bit flat” against the US and was expecting a tough match next time out. He said, “Argentina is definitely one of the favourites, but we are ready for any opponent that comes.”
The two players certainly seemed to enjoy playing together at Barcelona. Messi called the Dutchman a “complete footballer” after his move from Ajax, while De Jong has always made it clear he considers the Argentine to be the GOAT.
Next time they meet they will be on different sides. Who do you think will prevail?