A joyous Lionel Messi runs around the football field, leading his teammates and the stadium filled with fans in a rousing rendition of Argentina’s national anthem at the conclusion of the team’s victory over Belgium’s Red Devils.
By Carmen Glover
Argentina broke it’s 24-year World Cup drought on Saturday by beating Belgium 1-0 and earning a spot in the semi-finals to face the Netherlands who struggled to be a plucky Costa Rican team that many did not expect to reach this far. The semi-final match between Argentina and the Netherlands will air on ESPN at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 9. Argentina presented Belgium’s Red Devils with a much stronger competition than the USA team did. This made it difficult for the Red Devils to see the back of Argentina’s net, instead of the 16 touches it gave USA goalkeeper Tim Howard. But Belgium’s coach Marc Wilmots, speaking in the press conference after the game did not give Argentina much credit.
“We were not impressed by Argentina. They are just an ordinary team,” he said, while contradicting himself in stating “they did not give us any space.”
Gonzado Higuain scores Argentina’s only goal in the quarter final match against Belgium.
Argentina’s striker Gonzado Higuain scored the sole goal in the game, putting his team ahead. Argentina never faltered after that .Lionel Messi’s quiet leadership and poise was on full display during the match, as he guided his team to victory with his understated yet supportive style, which inspired his teammates to shine.
Argentina’s World Cup Football Team.
Still, Messi has a long way to go to prove himself in the eyes of Argentina’s vocal fans who compare all of their football stars to iconic player Diego Maradona, who bought his countrythe World Cup championship in the 1986 by beating Belgium in Mexico. While Messi does not seek the spotlight, Maradona has been plagued by drama and has staunchly brushed off the controversy surrounding his infamous handball which he described as “the hands of God.”
Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas frustrated the Dutchmen and pushed the game to extra time but was unable to save any of the Dutchmen’s penalty kicks.
During the match between Costa Rica and the Netherlands, Costa Rica’s goalkeeper Keylor Navas was focused and determined to limit the goal post at all costs, much to the frustration of the Dutch, particularly top striker Robin Van Persie, who made several attempts to score in regulation and extra time. The Costa Rican defense was also very stifling, which Greece saw when the Ticos beat them in the round of 16 with only ten men on the field.
Costa Rican player Joel Campbell left the game in the second half, overcome with exhaustion.
In the quarter-final game, one of the Ticos’ best players, Joel Campbell, a striker for Arsenal, left the field in the second half, overcome with exhaustion. His presence was missed but the Ticos put up an epic battle and manhandled the Dutch, pushing the game to overtime and penalty shootouts, determined to hold the banner for their CONCACAF region and causing the fans In the stadium to erupt with pride.The Ticos had a late rally in the last minutes of extra time and seemed poised to make their first appearance in the semi-finals.
Robin Van Persie, the Netherlands’ top flight striker, applied relentless pressure to the Costa Rican goalkeeper.
But it was not meant to be and the Netherlands eked out a victory in penalty shootouts, advancing 4-3.The Netherlands were very motivated to win and advance to the semi-finals since they have the distinction of losing the most World Cup Finals, having been to three finals and losing every time.
Robin Van Persie’s iconic World Cup goal that decimated Spain in the first round in pent-up revenge for losing to the World Cup Championship to them in 2010.
The Dutch switched goalkeepers for the penalty kicks but the Ticos kept Navals, who served them well throughout the tournament but fell short in the penalty phase, failing to save any of the penalty shots. While the game was thrilling, the manner in which the victory was achieved does not bode well for the Dutchmen because it took them enormous effort to defeat the Ticos, who many had dismissed as the “Cinderella team.”
The Netherlands’ World Cup Team.
With Brazil losing its star player Neymar on Friday due to a broken vertebrae, their chances of advancing to the final is also in doubt so if the Netherlands face Germany, can they reasonably expect to triumph? That seems highly unlikely. Somehow, it seems like the World Cup final will be a matchup between Germany and Argentina, based on the style of play that the four remaining teams have shown so far and the fact that Brazil’s overall performance, which has not been impressive, will suffer without their star player. The Netherlands is the only team in the semi-final round that has never won a World Cup Championship and with Messi having so much to prove, it seems unrealistic to expect the Dutchmen to beat the Argentinians.
FIFA highlighted Anti-Discrimination message during all quarter-final games.
FIFA officials, in designating the quarter finals as the period of the World Cup to focus on Anti-Discrimination, asked each team’s captain to read an anti-discrimination message, while a FIFA representative read a statement denouncing “discrimination in all its forms.” -OnPointPress.net.