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Argentina v Belgium: Preview, Possible Lineups & Prediction

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One of the tournament favourites take on a lot of people’s outsiders for the World Cup on Saturday, with Argentina facing Belgium in Brasília for a place in the semi-final.

lionel messi Argentina v Belgium: Preview, Possible Lineups & Prediction

Argentina needed 118 minutes to open the scoring against Switzerland in their second round tie. The one time the Swiss defence allowed Lionel Messi time and space he hurdled past them to set up Ángel di María for a one-on-one that he finished well.

Belgium too were taken to extra-time in their second round tie before wearing the USA out to take a 2-0 lead. After Julian Green volleyed the Americans back into the game Belgium appeared to go a bit shaky at the back and it was goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois that bailed them out.

The South Americans may have won all four of their games by the odd goal but Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran and Switzerland all played very defensively against them. Nigeria were more open which saw Argentina score three goals; two of them by Lionel Messi.

Belgium have been a bit more open which could see this being end-to-end. Or perhaps the European side will shut up shop and play defence first with the view of scoring on the counter. Against the USA the defence did look lunch a bunch of talented individuals more than a group at times, but the goal conceded in extra time was their first in open play in this tournament.

Team News

Argentina

Marcos Rojo is suspended having picked up two yellow cards. Argentina don’t have any natural replacement at left-back so José María Basanta may be the option as an experienced left-footed option.

Sergio Agüero isn’t expected to be fit in time which should see Ezequiel Lavezzi maintain his place in the starting lineup despite a largely ineffective performance against Switzerland last time out.

Belgium

Defenders Anthony vanden Borre and Laurent Ciman are out of the tournament through injury but Marc Wilmots has the same side available that beat the USA.

The head coach has a difficult decision to make between which striker to start up front as Romelu Lukaku make a great impact as a substitute for Divock Origi in the last round. Kevin Mirallas coud also come in for Dries Mertens who had a poor game. Bringing in Mousa Dembélé for Marouane Fellaini may also be a sensible change.

Predicted Lineups

Argentina

argentina vs belgium 05072014 Argentina v Belgium: Preview, Possible Lineups & PredictionThe one change at left-back is the only switch forced upon head coach Alejandro Sabella whom we think will keep the remaining ten starters.

Belgium

belgium vs argentina 05072014 Argentina v Belgium: Preview, Possible Lineups & Prediction

Marc Wilmots has done a good job in keeping his team fresh and making impact substitutions in this tournament. Now he has some key decisions to make with the starters against Argentina based on performances in the last round.

Key Matchups

Lionel Messi vs Axel Witsel

Belgium have to shut down Lionel Messi and keep him quiet if they have a chance of shutting out Argentina. The aggressive Axel Witsel may be given that responsibility, whilst Vincent Kompany will offer backup. Marouane Fellaini not the best for this role is why I think he will be dropped. Daniel van Buyten may not have the legs to do so for 90 minutes. Messi has been involved in almost all of Argentina’s positive attacking play in this tournament, scoring four of their seven goals, assisting one more and delivering the free kick from which Bosnia and Herzegovina put into their own net.

Eden Hazard vs Pablo Zabaleta

These two will know each other from the Premier League. Chelsea will the victors in both games last season. The Argentina defence has not looked so impressive despite keeping clean sheets in half of their matches. This is a real test for them. Nigeria scored twice and with the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku available as well as others, Belgium can probably expect to get on the scoresheet. The left forward will also have support from Jan Vertonghen pushing on from left-back.

Romelu Lukaku vs Federico Fernández

The Chelsea striker showed what he was capable of in extra-time versus USA after a quiet first two games. He matches up well against Federico Fernández who has not had the best of tournaments. If the striker can get on this defender, away from Ezequiel Garay, he should be able to find both chances and opportunities to create chances. He’ll also have Kevin De Bruyne behind him in support.

Soccerlens Predicion: Argentina 2-1 Belgium

With both teams struggling for form, this could fail to live up to the hype in terms of excitement, but La Albiceleste should have just enough to overcome Marc Wilmots’ young Belgians.

Key World Cup links:

Argentina World Cup 2014 Team Page.
Belgium World Cup 2014 Team Page.
World Cup 2014 Matches – Fixtures & Results
World Cup 2014 Player & Team Stats
World Cup 2014 Group Tables
Watch live World Cup matches online.
Our main World Cup 2014 news page.
The Official Soccerlens World Cup Predictor Game.

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Comments (15)

  1. Belgium’ll win 2-1. Lukaku’ll score and probably Hazard. Higuain might score for Argentina

  2. I don’t thing Belgium has a weapon to beat Argentina, they have to put more defender up and we have really good players.my heart to Argentina god bless you always!

    • The last thing Belgium should do is to put more defenders up. If both teams play normally, this is a 50-50 game, that will be decided by either a Messi-action, by keeping Messi out of the game, or by the unlikely event that Belgium actually finishes its many chances.

  3. I think that Belgium wins this game 2:1 only if Adnan Januzaj starts in the first XI for Belgium.
    - Januzaj scores at least one goal for Belgium.

    • Adnan Januzaj has been training like a wet table cloth. He’s got no chance to start unless Hazard, Mertens, Mirallas and Chadli all get involved in some freak accident involving a shrubbery, the Duke of Ellington and a price winning leek.

  4. I like to see as a best team Argentina will win against Belgium with a great competition by scoring more LM. Wait……………..

  5. Belgium will probably win this one. The blueprint is there: Switzerland and other countries have almost successfully defended all the way against Argentina, the Belgians just need to do the same with their more talented defenders and midfield and use their deadly counterattacks (most successful this tournament…) to finish Argentina off.

  6. I think argentina going to win..there are so many reasons.. One of the important reason is the attacking game..argentina play well against nigeria and failed to score easily in other 3 games..during this match nigeria try to score against argentina, which lead to opening of their defensive game..but other 3 games are completely defensive aginst argentina..that is why games are very boring and argentina can’t show their real face..but in quarter final all teams will look for win as possible they can..so belgium will try to attack and with the help of gago-messi-higuin argentina will score again and again if belgium try to score

  7. Argentina Trigo Messi, Di Maria and Higuain can be dangerous for Red Devils. they should stop them to score

  8. Messi will be buried under double or triple defensive (which will unfortunately be described as a weak performance by Messi in the newspapers the day after), while the rest of Argentina’s team is just not strong enough to hold off the Belgians which have the better team overall. 2-1 for Belgium is more likely than the other way around.

  9. Belgium still wins this game. Lukaku, Fellaini, and Januzaj, can play best if these three play together. Januzaj should be given the creative freedom to play anywhere in the attack front line.

  10. Cracking game to finish 2-2 after extra time. Argentina to win on penalties.

  11. I give it to Argentina 1.0 with the help of messi and Di.maria Argentina will make it

  12. Wilmots was wrong against Argentina. If you have in Fellaini and Llukaku you must give a chance to Januzaj.