World Cup: Argentina Beats Belgium to Secure Semi-Final Place
THE GUARDIAN – Argentina’s players bounced in unison in front of the banks of compatriots in sky blue and white on the final whistle here, some in their number ripping off their shirts and swirling them round in celebration to mimic those in the stands.
This team burst through a psychological barrier in overcoming a becalmed Belgium. Where the last eight has seen La Albiceleste stumble too often in recent tournaments, now they will contest a semi-final for the first time in 24 years. São Paulo should brace itself for an invasion.
This was a reminder of innate Argentine qualities, a streetwise display built on rugged teamwork, committed defence and adorned, at times, with flashes of spellbinding skill from Lionel Messi.
The captain’s 91st appearance has drawn him level with Diego Maradona in joint sixth place on the list of those capped for this country, with his first-half display in Brasília the latest masterclass he has delivered at these finals.
One mind-boggling blur of close-control as Axel Witsel, Marouane Fellaini, Daniel Van Buyten and Fellaini again snapped at his ankles on the edge of the Belgian penalty area will live long in the memory.
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