Mascherano talks up Netherlands

Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano said he believes the Netherlands are faster and stronger than his team.

Alejandro Sabella's men face the Dutch in the FIFA World Cup semi-finals at the Arena de Sao Paulo on Wednesday.

Argentina have claimed one-goal wins in each of their five matches in Brazil on their way to a first last-four berth since 1990.

Mascherano said it would be crucial for his side to maintain possession, as they did in their 1-0 win over Belgium.

"We will try to close them down, and not let them run. Because when they run, obviously, they are faster and stronger than us," the Barcelona man told a news conference.

"And we have to keep the ball, control the play and try to choose the right moment to attack. It was what we did the other day against Belgium."

Defender Jose Maria Basanta said his team's upcoming matches would be tougher than anything they have faced thus far.

The 30-year-old Monterrey defender feels the clash against the Netherlands, followed by a meeting with either Brazil or Germany, would be the biggest tests yet for his side.

"We have to live day by day. Today, we are living a beautiful reality. It is up to us to make history," Basanta said.

"Not only with the next match, we have to achieve the objective, keep working because the coming games will be more difficult than the last one, but we are focused mentally."