Argentina vs Belgium World Cup 2014 match preview: Five reasons why Belgium will beat Argentina
The sides meet in a quarter-final in Brasilia bidding for a place in the last four
Friday 04 July 2014
Ahead of Saturday's quarter-final meeting, we find a few reasons for a young Belgian side to be feeling confident against Lionel Messi and Co.
Read more: Five reasons why Argentina will beat Belgium
1. The positivity of youth
For this young Belgian squad, the 2014 World Cup is the perfect platform for self-expression. Young striker Divock Origi, for example, has seen his brilliant efforts result in a possible move to Liverpool already. Origi is just another example of a promising young Belgian, and since the World Cup has started he has overtaken Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku in the race to start as Belgium’s lone striker. Other youngsters like Kevin De Bruyne have really impressed for the Red Devils in Brazil, and this outfit full of speed and skill are almost oblivious to the pressures the World Cup should be bringing.
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2. Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard has failed to impress at this tournament, but Belgium have still reached the quarter-finals without him on top form. Perhaps this is the time when Hazard will stand up and be counted, he is a fabulous footballer and his technical ability is truly world class. Hazard could well be one of the best players in the world in the next few years but he has to perform now, he has the capabilities. If Hazard does show up on Saturday against Argentina then they will definitely be stretched - with Argentina prone to suspect defending, Hazard is the man that can really cause problems.
3. Thibaut Courtois
It is definitely not an exaggeration to say that Thibaut Courtois was the key man for Atletico Madrid in their Champions League semi-final victory over Chelsea last season. The 22-year-old made a handful of big saves in the second leg against his parent club at Stamford Bridge, and though Courtois hasn’t been tested yet at this World Cup, Lionel Messi will surely change that come Saturday evening. Courtois has proved at club level that he is capable of dealing with Messi - the star has not scored past the giant keeper in seven matches. On his day Courtois really is unbeatable and the way in which he makes keeping a clean sheet look so easy is a pleasure to watch; he can really frustrate the Argentinians. Lionel Messi has not scored past Thibaut Courtois in seven matches
4. Cool heads at the back
Courtois is a cool head, but Vincent Kompany and Daniel Van Buyten are a really solid partnership in the heart of the Belgian defence. They both have leadership qualities in abundance, and unlike most of their team, have real big match experience. The pair have eight European league title’s between them, in England, Germany and Belgium. Kompany and Van Buyten have uncannily resembled two proud fathers in their nurturing of the infantile team that surrounds them at this World Cup. Their solidity only compliments the attacking swagger of those further up the pitch and Belgium have conceded just two goals at this World Cup, no other nation has conceded less.
5. Winning mentality
Belgium have lost only 5 of their last 42 international matches. This staggering record shows how the national team has built up the momentum to lead them into the last 8 of the 2014 World Cup, after sheer domination in their European qualifying campaign. A large Premier League contingent forms the backbone of the Belgian team, a team that was seen as, and is now, one of Europe’s main contenders to lift the trophy in Brazil. A team that clearly knows how to win, and a team containing true match winners. The Red Devils should be overlooked at their opposition’s peril.
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