Aké has yet to ask Guardiola for Messi’s opinion: ‘Nice mission’
Ake and Timber on blocking Messi: ‘Difficult, but a great mission’
Nathan Aké and Jurriën Timber seem to be the most important shields the Dutch national team will be able to use on Friday night (8 p.m.) against Argentina’s big little guy: Lionel Messi in the quarter-finals of the World Cup .
It is therefore not surprising that they appeared at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “He’s one of the greatest players of all time. It’s a great mission to stop him,” Aké said.
The Manchester City defender is trained at his club by Pep Guardiola. Under him, Messi achieved great success at Barcelona between 2008 and 2012. So the Spaniard knows well how Messi works. He could give Ake some useful advice. However, this has not (yet) happened. “I had no contact with Guardiola.”
Perhaps this shows how relaxed Orange is working for the game against Argentina. Aké says the players didn’t talk much about Messi after the USA win. “We had lazy days and we didn’t think about him.”
Van Gaal eyes Orange and holds Messi cards to chest
Despite the “casual” preparation, there is one thing that Aké does not look at with a good feeling. The 27-year-old defender is on edge after a yellow card against Qatar. If he gets another card, he is suspended for a possible semi-final. “It’s not fun to play. On the other hand, it’s important to win and then we’ll see who plays.”
Besides Aké, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Teun Koopmeiners are also on edge. Yellow cards are canceled at the World Cup after the quarter-finals.
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If Argentina is beaten, the Netherlands will have won this World Cup against four “continental winners”. Qatar became Asian champions, the United States of North America, Senegal of Africa and Argentina of South America.
Aké assures that the focus will only be on Messi in the upcoming quarter-finals. “They have several good players. It will be a big game.” Also, according to Aké, it’s not just about him and Timber. “Tactics are also very important.”
Timber, a little less talkative, agrees: “We have to do it as a team.”
Thus, the Ajax defender hopes the Netherlands can beat Argentina, like in 1998. “We all remember Dennis Bergkamp’s goal. We also want to make history.”
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