2014 World Cup Quarterfinals: Belgium vs Argentina

2014 FIFA World Cup Quarterfinals
Belgium vs Argentina

Estádio Nacional de Brasília – Brasília, Brazil
Saturday, July 5, 2014, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN, Univision 
Money Line: Belgium +260 / Argentina +115 / Draw +230
Point Line: Argentina -0.5 +115 / Belgium +0.5 -135
Total: under 2.5 -160 / over 2.5 +135
Odds to advance to the semifinals: Argentina -172 / Belgium +147
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker 

Argentina is favored to beat Belgium in the World cup Quarterfinals Saturday.

Argentina is favored to beat Belgium in the World cup Quarterfinals Saturday.

Both Belgium and Argentina have won all four of their matches in the World Cup by one goal. However, as long as you win is all that matters. Both teams have made it to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup and both look to return to the semifinals after long absences. The winner of the match Saturday between Belgium and Argentina in Brasilia will play either the Netherlands or Costa Rica in the semifinals next week.

Argentina leads the series 3-1-0 against Belgium. Belgium beat Argentina 1-0 in the Group Stage of the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Argentina would beat Belgium 2-0 in the semifinals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. Argentina would win the World Cup that year. Belgium and Argentina have not played since the 1986 match.

Belgium is making their 12th appearance overall in the World Cup and first since 2002. Belgium played in six straight World Cups from 1982-2002. Belgium finished fourth in 1986 their best finish. In 2002, Belgium lost to eventual champion Brazil in the round of 16.

Belgium was placed in Group H of the World Cup along with Algeria, Russia and South Korea. Belgium won all three group games including 2-1 against Algeria, and 1-0 against both Russia and South Korea. Belgium won the group with 9 points and Algeria came in second with 4 points.

Belgium played the United States in the round of 16 Tuesday in Salvador. The game was scoreless after regulation and went into extra time despite Belgium peppering the US net with shots. It took a heroic effort from American keeper Tim Howard just to send the game into extra time. However, Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne scored at 93 minutes to give Belgium a 1-0 lead. Romelu Lukaku made it 2-0 Belgium just before extra time halftime. It looked dark for the US but Julian Green scored at 107 minutes to make it 2-1. The United States played with desperation and had a couple of good looks but couldn’t get the second goal, as Belgium survived 2-1.

Belgium had 38 shots including 27 on goal. The United States had 14 and 9. Belgium had 27 fouls to 11 for the US. The Americans actually had possession for 53% of the time but most of that was in the midfield. Belgium had 19 corners to 4 for the United States. Belgium was called for the only 2 offsides of the match.

Argentina is making their 16th appearance in the World Cup and 11th straight. Argentina has won two World Cups but none since since 1986. They lost in the final in 1990, but haven’t advanced past the quarters since then. Argentina was crushed by Germany 4-0 in the quarterfinals in 2010.

Argentina was placed into Group F of the 2014 World Cup along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria. It isn’t clear where Argentina would be without world class striker Lionel Messi. He scored a goal to make the score 2-0 in the second half against Bosnia, and Argentina would hold on for the 2-1 win. He scored a goal in stoppage time against Iran to prevent an embarrassing scoreless draw. He also scored 2 first half goals against Nigeria in a match Argentina would win 3-2 to clinch first place in the group. Messi came into the World Cup with only one other goal in two previous appearances.

Argentina played Switzerland in the round of 16. The game was scoreless through regulation and most of extra time. It looked like the match was heading towards penalties until Angel Di Maria scored at 118 minutes to give Argentina a 1-0 win.

Argentina had 29 shots with 22 on target. Switzerland had 14 and 7. Switzerland had 28 fouls to 19 for Argentina. Argentina had possession for 61% of the time. Argentina had 13 corners to 5 for Switzerland. Switzerland had the lone offsides flag.

Belgium is coached by Marc Wilmots. Belgium will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Defender Anthony Vanden Borre is out with a broken leg. Midfielder Steven Defour returns to the line-up after being suspended against the US. Captain Vincent Kompany played against the Americans despite a thigh injury.  Romelu Lukaku,  Divock Origi, Edin Hazard and Kevin Mirallas are the top scoring threats. Keeper Thibaut Courtois has only allowed two goal in the World Cup.

Belgium has outscored teams 6-2 so far in the tournament. Belgium has 6 open play goals and no set piece goals. Belgium has 81 shots with 55 on target. They have completed 21 of 102 crosses and been called offsides 16 times.  Belgium has 14 blocks and 12 saves. Belgium has won 12 of 49 tackles. Belgium has completed 1,641 passes. 

Argentina is coached by Alejandro Sabella. Argentina will use a 4-2-3-1 formation. Lionel Messi has scored 4 of the 7 goals for Argentina. Marcos Rojo and Di Maria are the  only other Argentine players to score as Bosnia scored an own goal. Left-back Rojo will miss after he got his second yellow card against Switzerland. Talented striker Sergio Aguero is doubtful after missing the Switzerland game with a muscle strain. Ezequiel Lavezzi or Rodrico Palacio could start in place of Aguero. Keeper Sergio Romero has allowed 3 goals, and sometimes has to clean up the messes of an inconsistent backline.

Argentina is outscoring teams 7-3 in the World Cup. Argentina has 6 open play and 1 set piece goal. Argentina has 77 shots with 49 on target. Argentina has completed 22 of 127 crosses and has only been called offsides once. Argentina has 13 blocks and 13 saves. They have won 22 of 69 tackles. Argentina has completed 2,112 passes.

Both of these teams have won a lot of close games with late scores. Messi has been incredible for Argentina and is the main reason why Argentina has made it this far. I think Argentina wins 2-1 in extra time, but Belgium certainly has the talent to pull off the upset.

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