Louis van Gaal is hoping Robin van Persie will be fit to lead the Netherlands into World Cup semi-final combat with Argentina on Wednesday.
Germany await the victors in Sunday's showpiece event following their unbelievable 7-1 annihilation of Brazil and Manchester United's incoming manager is plotting to mastermind another triumph against Lionel Messi and co to ensure the Dutch reach a second successive final. Van Persie has been troubled with a stomach complaint but will be given every opportunity to start in Sao Paulo.
"Robin has a stomach problem," confirmed van Gaal. "An intestinal problem. I don’t know [if he will play] but I will decide. Van Persie is our captain so he is very important to us. In principle, my captain always plays, but he has to be fit."
Ron Vlaar, Leroy Fer and Nigel De Jong have all trained with the coach explaining it will be a 'miracle' if the latter can overcome the groin injury that had threatened to rule him out of the entire tournament. Jasper Cillessen keeps his place in goal, despite Tim Krul's heroics in the penalty shoot-out win over Costa Rica.
Argentina and Messi represent difficult opponents after notching five consecutive victories during the World Cup finals and are flying the flag for South America.
"I don’t think there is a favourite," van Gaal insisted when asked to assess the game. "The countries are at the same level.
"It’s a 50-50 match and we have to be a bit lucky too," he admitted.