Sunday, July 6, 2014

World Cup 2014 QF : Argentina vs Belgium 1-0

After 24 long years, Argentina has made its way to World Cup semifinals, via a 1-0 victory over Belgium.
It wasn't a very pretty match to witness, but I guess, as the tournament is getting to the business end, the struggle to win is taking away the flair & finesse of the game called Football.
Today too, it was Higuain, who converted a half chance into a goal, with an opportunistic shot from the edge of the box, which caught everyone by surprise as the ball entered the right low end of the net in only the 9th minute of the match. Di Maria was quick to receive & float the ball to Higuain, who half turned & took a sudden right footer & goalkeeper Courtois was stranded gaping helplessly.
From there on, one had expected the Red Devils to fight back & they did hold better possession of the ball, but their attack lacked flair & the Argentinian defense was never really tested. In contrast, the Argentinian attack had more bite & they should have won the game with a better margin.
It was a disappointing match, as the Red Devils looked more & more clueless to attack. Changes by coach Wilmots had little impact, as Kompany, Lulaku, Hazard, Origi, all looked a shade below their best.
Argentina seems to be peaking well & the team is coming together as an still is very dependent on Messi magic, but others seem to be adding value slowly but surely. However, the injury to Di Maria looks quite serious, as he got substituted within 30 odd minutes into the game & the ice pack on his thigh could not hide the grimace of pain on his face. His absence will dent the touch play of this team, & Messi might find himself cornered by opponents.