FIFA World Cup: Martin Demichelis hoping to thwart ex-coach Louis Van Gaal's tactics
Sao Paulo: Having been brought back in from the international wilderness, Argentina defender Martin Demichelis is now hoping to ruin the World Cup dream of his former coach Louis van Gaal in today's semi-final against the Netherlands.
The 33-year-old Manchester City defender had not featured at all before being called-up into the side for Saturday's quarter-final with Belgium in Brasilia.
Preferred to Federico Fernandez in central defence, Demichelis shone alongside Ezequiel Garay as Argentina triumphed 1-0 to progress to the Last Four.
While most of the focus is on Lionel Messi and his ability to drag what many consider to be an average Argentine side to the title, Demichelis and his fellow defenders will have a central role to play if they are to stop the dangerous Dutch attack.
He knows all about the threat posed by Arjen Robben, his former teammate at Bayern Munich, and the tactical nous of Van Gaal, under whom Demichelis played in the Bayern side that reached the Champions League final in 2010.
He has described Van Gaal as "a great manager" and someone who is "very convinced about his own methods", so he knows the size of the task in store.
But he is also just savouring his return to international prominence after close to three years out of the picture.
"It means a lot in every sense. It is a reward for all those who helped me," he said after the Belgium win.
A regular in Diego Maradona's side, Demichelis thought his international career was over after his mistake saw Argentina have to settle for a 1-1 draw with Bolivia in November of the following year.
However, now he is just one game away from playing in a World Cup final.