Argentina vs Belgium – The penultimate Quarter final!

The penultimate quarter final of the 2014 World Cup sees Argentina and Belgium go head to head this Saturday afternoon at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, in a match which has the potential to be a real classic. Neither of these two teams have shown what they are truly capable of in the competition thus far but there were positive signs in their Round of 16 games to suggest that a big performance isn’t far away for either side. Argentina were touted as being the biggest threat to Brazil as far as winning the 2014 World Cup was concerned, but they haven’t exactly looked like the most fearsome side in the tournament during their four matches to this stage. That being said, Argentina have won all of their games to date and have the potential to produce something out of nothing at any time thanks to captain Lionel Messi. Similar criticism could be levelled at Belgium as they two have struggled to hit top form prior to now but they did show a lot of fighting spirit to come through their last sixteen match with the USA. Argentina are slightly favoured by the bookmakers to progress to the next stage, but this game is sure to be a close encounter.

Without Lionel Messi, Argentina may not have made it to this stage of the 2014 World Cup. Arguably the best footballer of his generation, Messi has found the back of the net four times so far in Brazil, and also assisted the winning goal in Argentina’s Round of 16 game against Switzerland. The Swiss made things very difficult for their South American opponents, putting plenty of men behind the ball and making it very difficult for Alejandro Sabella to create any space, thus limiting their chances. Argentina did eventually manage to break Switzerland down, but it took a late extra time goal for them to make it into the quarter final stage of the competition. I find it hard to assess exactly what Argentina have achieved in this tournament to this point. They have, for brief spells in games, looked extremely impressive. The winning habit is important, and Argentina certainly have that. However, they rely too heavily on Lionel Messi and if the captain has an off game, I wonder if they may just come unstuck.

Belgium were quietly fancied in some quarters as potential winners of the 2014 World Cup. Their opening match against Algeria made people question their credentials but as things turned out, that scrappy 2-1 victory was not as bad of a result as it first appeared. This side has definitely improved as the tournament has gone on and they looked very good in the last round when defeating a hard working United States side. For me, Belgium are hitting top gear are the right time and Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen has been in particularly good form in their last couple of games. I think the Belgians can take Argentina all the way, and possibly sneak through to the semi finals in extra time.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

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