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World Cup 2014: Argentina beat Belgium to make semis after 24 years

Posted By: PTI
Brasilia, July 5: Striker Gonzalo Higuain scored when it mattered as his opportunistic strike helped Argentina beat Belgium 1-0 to enter the World Cup semi-final after 24 long years ending their 'quartefinal jinx' that affected them during the last two editions.

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The last time when the Albicelestes reached semi-final was 'Italia 90' where the Diego Maradona-led team lost the final 0-1 to West Germany. In recent editions, Argentina have lost twice in the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2010 to Germany. This will be skipper Lionel Messi's first World Cup semi-final having had to bite the dust in the last two editions.

Having been off-colour during the group stages, Higuain finally showed his class as he was quick to react to a pass from Angel De Maria finishing off with a powerful angular volley from the top of the box beating a fully stretched Thibaur Courtois. The match was into its eighth minute. The early strike did help Argentina a lot as they were in firm control during the first half an hour as the European 'Red Devils' made some efforts in the final quarter of the first half.

Argentina could have gone ahead in the 13th minute when forward Ezequiel Lavezzi took a crack at goal but was saved by the Belgium defence. The European outfit got a chance to equalize in the 26th minute when a Kevin De Bruyne shot was punched away by Sergio Romero but Divock Origi couldn't reach to hit the rebound.

While Messi didn't find his fifth goal in the first half but he did keep the Belgium defence busy earning a direct free-kick during the fag end of the first half.

His inswinging free-kick was however way over the crossbar. Messi could have scored in the third minute of the stoppage time when his solo run into an empty Belgian defence saw Courtois anticipating perfectly to foil his attempt and keeping his scoresheet clean against the talismanic Argentine in club and international football.


Story first published: Saturday, July 5, 2014, 23:34 [IST]
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