FIFA Wolrd Cup 2014 Quarterfinals Results: Argentina vs. Belgium
By Christine Jane Caparras | July 7, 2014 1:28 AM EST
Napoli's Gonzalo Higuain was channeling Argentinian legend Diego Maradona who also played for the Italian club when he scored early in Argentina's quarterfinal match against Belgium to give them the lead and eventually the victory in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Argentina's Gonzalo Higuain (R) celebrates next to teammate Angel Di Maria after scoring a goal against Belgium during their 2014 World Cup quarter-finals at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia July 5, 2014.
Argentina 1-0 Belgium
The game's first real attacking attempt saw Higuain score off a misstep from Belgian captain Vincent Kompany. As the captain was dispossessed, Lionel Messi brought the ball down to Angel Di Maria who got a lucky break by seeing his pass deflected off Jan Vertonghen to land squarely on an unmarked Higuain who didn't hesitate and struck the ball on the first touch sending it firmly into the back of the net.
The Argentine decision to change their formation to leave out Sergio Aguero from the front proved effective as the Higuain, Messi and Di Maria trio were instrumental in giving La Albiceleste several chances to score.
The Real Madrid man, Di Maria who came off a stellar performance in the UEFA Champions League before coming to Brazil, was playing a big role for his national team until he was unexpectedly taken out following a thigh injury. No apparent tackle was seen to have caused the injury but he fell to the ground shortly after firing a shot towards goal which was blocked by Kompany.
Di Maria was seen being treated in the sidelines and went back on the pitch only to fall again unchallenged making it clear that he will be unable to continue. Enzo Perez came in for Di Maria in the 33rd minute breaking the effective trio in front.
Belgium had their own chances but aggressive defending from Sergio Romero and the Argentina backline with the help of Lucas Biglia and Javier Mascherano allowed the Argentines to hold them off despite ball possession and attempts at goal being fairly even between the two teams. Lionel Messi has his final challenge thwarted by Courtois.
In the end, Argentina have booked a date with the Netherlands for a chance to face wither Brazil or Germany in the final at the Maracana.
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