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World Cup Recap: Argentina vs. Belgium

Argentina is back in the semifinals stage of a world cup after 24 years.  Thanks to a balanced and efficient game and an early goal from striker Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina beat Belgium by the minimum difference today in the Bazilian capital of Brasilia.

The South Americans got off to a great start pressuring and attacking the Belgian defense.  Before the clock hit the eighth minute mark, a deflected pass from Angel Di Maria ended in the feet of Gonzalo Higuain, who was just at the top of the Belgian penalty box.  The Napoli striker did not hesitate and sent a beautiful right footed strike into the back of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

After the goal, Argentina defended its lead.  Discipline and pressure kept most of Belgium’s advances under control.  The best opportunity of the first half for the Europeans came off a Jan Vertonghen cross met Kevin De Bruyne’s head that saw the ball slightly miss the right side of a goal.

The worst news of the half for the Argentines came when Di Maria had to leave the game in the 33rd minute due to an injury on his right leg.

Argentina made its priority to defend the slender lead and was happy to sit in its third.  A compact and precise defensive effort denied the Belgian squad of much space and opportunities to create danger in their opposition’s goal.

The best chances of the half came for the side that was ahead through the feet of Lionel Messi and Higuain.  Both strikers had one on one chances with just Courtois left to beat, but failed to beat to increase the Argentine lead when the Belgian keeper got the best of them.  Higuan’s attempt barely missed hitting the top post before going out of bounds and Messi was brilliantly blocked by the keeper.

As he has done in most of the Belgian contest in the tournament, striker Romelu Lukaku came on off the bench but was unable to have a meaningful impact on the result.

Argentina now moves on to the semifinals for the first time since Italy 1990 where they would finish as the runner ups.  They join Brazil and Germany in that stage of Brazil 2014 and await their opponent, who will come out of the Netherlands and Costa Rica contest.

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]


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World Cup Recap: Argentina vs. Belgium