The Netherlands and Argentina are level at 0-0 after the first half of the second World Cup semifinal.

In stark contrast to Tuesday's German goal spurt against Brazil, the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock Wednesday was Lionel Messi's free kick in the 20th minute that Jasper Cillessen dived to his right to comfortably save.

The Dutch got a pre-match boost with the return of midfield enforcer Nigel de Jong after he recovered from a groin injury he sustained in the second-round victory over Mexico. Captain Robin van Persie also shook off a stomach problem to start.

Argentina was missing Angel Di Maria after the Real Madrid winger injured his thigh in the quarterfinal against Belgium.

The winner plays Germany in Sunday's World Cup final.