Argentina vs Belgium World Cup 2014 preview: There is more to Argentina than Lionel Messi, warns Belgium coach Marc Wilmots

Eden Hazard will need to display his improving defensive abilities

Brasilia

The Belgium manager Marc Wilmots admits that he has told Chelsea’s Eden Hazard that he can be “even more effective” for the national side, who face Argentina in a World Cup quarter-final today, but insists that the defensive aspect of his game which Jose Mouinho criticised has improved.

Follow Argentina v Belgium live here

Wilmots, who seemed far less burdened by expectations than the Argentina manager Alex Sabella when the two gave pre-match press conferences yesterday said that Hazard is not “lacking very much” and that he has been developing his ability to offer defensive protection for 18 months now. Mourinho criticised the forward in May, saying of Hazard that “he’s not the kind of player ready to sacrifice himself 100 per cent for the team.” Hazard will need to put in a big shift today, as he and Jan Vertonghen look to tighten up the Belgian left – an area where Lionel Messi is likely to threaten.

Read more: Can Di Maria satisfy Argentina cravings?
Argentina vs Belgium - the key men
Rafa Benitez: Argentina must find Messi alternatives

Wilmots insisted that his side would not focus purely on Messi as they seek revenge for the 2-0 semi-final defeat at Argentina’s expense in 1986. “People tend to focus on Lionel Messi, rightly so,” he said. “But this morning I watched the Argentina v Switzerland match and their team is not one player, but a whole. You have to strike a balance. But they allowed the Swiss a number of scoring opportunities, so there will be chances. We had to wait for a long time before scoring against the US [in the round of 16] and little things can make the difference. We will stick to our philosophy and not just defend. We'll not be adapting to their style. We'll be trusting in our own.”

 

Sabella may try to create greater creativity by replacing Fernando Gago with Lucas Biglia, the Lazio player, in midfield, allowing greater exploitation of the space created by the focus on Messi. Federico Fernandez, who has not impressed in central defence, may make way for Manchester City’s Martin Demichelis.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot