Everyone has to appreciate what Costa Rica has done in this tournament. They were amazing in the group stage and no one expected them to make it this far, let alone win the Group and make it past the first knock-out game. That being said, there is no way they can hang with the Oranje tonight. No way. It’s been a phenomenal run for Costa Rica, and between them, Mexico, and the USA, any discussion of the possibility of removing a slot from CONCACAF has been silenced. But it ends here.
Argentina v Belgium is an interesting question. Belgium has the better team, but Argentina has Messi. Is that enough? I don’t think so. Belgium also has one of the best central defenders in the world in Kompany; that’s not enough to cancel out Messi, but it should be enough to slow him down. And while Messi has been brilliant at times, he simply hasn’t taken control of the games the way some were expecting.
ARGENTINA 1 BELGIUM 0. A goal that is both lucky and well-struck in the eighth minute is the only one; a deflection bounces to Higuaín, who immediately buries a nice volley. Like France yesterday, Belgium never seemed to get in gear. Messi has the opportunity to put the game away in injury time, but can’t beat the keeper on a one-on-one. He’s very good, but he’s no Maradona.