Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk has reiterated that Orange are not focusing on only stopping Messi but are wary of the entire team and preparing for all Argentina players and firepowers.

Seven time Ballon D’Or winner, Messi is once again vying to win the only trophy that has managed to elude him in what may be his last chance, churning out spectacular performances in each match day.

However, Virgil is confident that Argentina are bigger than just Messi and his team will prepare well to stop him ahead of Friday’s contest.

The Ductch centre-back said at a press conference: “He’s one of the best players of all time, obviously. He has done it for so many years.

“I would say he and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the standout players of the last two decades. There is only respect towards what they have achieved but, for us now, it is not a case of preparing just to face him. We are preparing to beat Argentina.

“Obviously we know how big a part of their success he has been over the years but it’s not Netherlands versus Messi, it’s Netherlands versus Argentina.” Virgil added.

In what is known to be a very fierce contest, the last time both sides met in a FIFA World Cup match, Argentina progressed on penalties.

Meanwhile, Virgil Van Djik is confident his country has learnt from that and his teammate are ready for such scenario.


“We have been practising,” the 31-year-old said. “It doesn’t guarantee in a game, where you play in a full stadium with 80,000 people and there is a semi-final at stake that everything will go the same, but we try to do as much as possible in order to be ready for it.

“Hopefully we won’t come to that stage and we can decide the game before getting to extra time or penalties, but if the time comes we have to be ready for it. We have practised as much as possible.”

“It’s a quarter-final, that’s special. There is hunger, there are dreams.

“We know we’re in the quarter-finals and only three games away from something really big. This is our chance.”