Twenty-eight years ago in Mexico City, a Diego Maradona-inspired Argentina defeated the Belgians in a World Cup semi-final and we all remember Maradona’s goal of the century. Football history seems to repeat itself as Belgium will face Argentina again in the World Cup quarterfinal on Saturday and this time it is Lionel Messi who stands between Marc Wilmots’s team and a place in the last four.
Argentina need extra-time to beat Switzerland
It wasn’t Argentina’s best performance in this tournament but it was enough to beat Switzerland 1-0 in extra-time. Once again, Lionel Messi made the difference to send Argentina into the World Cup quarter-finals. The team of coach Ottmar Hitzfeld fought hard and even managed to secure a goalless draw over 90 minutes. In extra-time, however, it was Messi who finally came up with the solution. Di Maria fired in Messi’s pass to clinch a 1-0 win, ending stubborn Swiss resistance and setting up a quarter-final tie against Belgium. Now, Argentina is one win away from advancing to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990.
Belgium fought hard to defeat USA in extra-time
The United States held tough against Belgium’s pressure and went into extra time 0-0 in the Round of 16. It was an exciting and thrilling game and in extra-time the USA played a much more open game and both sides had chances before Belgium secured their progression with two goals. U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard had to make 16 saves, the most in a World Cup game since 1966. The decisive goal was scored by Kevin De Bruyne shortly after extra time commenced, the second by Romelu Lukaku. The USA never gave up and Julian Green managed to score on a long pass from Bradley but the goal came too late and Belgium earned a 2-1 win against USA and made it through to the quarterfinals.
Belgium must stop Messi to defeat Argentina
Belgium will face Argentina on Saturday in Brasilia and this encounter evokes memories of a glorious past in terms of previous match-ups. Beligum wants to avoid a repeat of Mexico ’86 when Diego Maradona inspired Argentina to win against Belgium. However, Belgium is not without chances but if they really want to advance to the semi-finals they have to stop Messi. According to the bookmakers, Messi’s team is slightly favoured with winning odds of 2.22. Belgium as the dark horse of the tournament shouldn’t be underestimated (odds of 4.00). It will be interesting to see who will make it through to the semifinals.