Yesterday, an early header from Mats Hummels was enough for Germany to beat France 1-0, with les bleus unable to find any sort of answer to a Germany side that finally looked to be clicking.
Brazil’s 2-1 win over Colombia provided more talking points, few of them happy ones. The referee lost control of the game early on, coming under heavy criticism for his officiating. The unfortunate side effect of his lax approach to discipline was an 88th minute challenge that resulted in Neymar being carried off the pitch on a stretcher. The Brazilian will now miss the rest of the tournament thanks to a broken vertebra.
Argentina: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Basanta; Biglia, Mascherano, Di Maria; Lavezzi, Messi, Higuain
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, Fellaini; De Bruyne, Mirallas, Hazard, Origi
Will Argentina’s attack finally live up to its potential?
Lionel Messi scored ten goals in CONMEBOL qualifying, second only to Luis Suárez. But he wasn’t the only one scoring for Argentina. Gonzalo Higuaín contributed nine goals, Sergio Agüero five, and Ángel di María, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Maxi Rodríguez all three. In total, they scored 35 goals in 16 games.
Now, four games into their tournament, Argentina have scored six on their own, with four of those coming from Messi. Marco Rojo scored the winner against Nigeria, di María against Switzerland, off a ball from Messi. The potency of the albiceleste attack has yet to be truly shown. Will we finally get a glimpse of it today?
Can Romelu Lukaku score again?
The Belgian forward did not get off to a good start in the World Cup, leaving after less than an hour in his first two matches, and not even seeing time in the final group stage game. The 21-year-old looked completely ineffective up top, sluggish and out of ideas. But then he finally managed a goal, besting Tim Howard, whom he’d spent the season with against Everton. Lukaku’s goal insured that Julian Green’s late strike still allowed Belgium to advance.
But Lukaku hasn’t found his way back into the starting lineup, with Marc Wilmots favoring 19-year-old Divock Origi instead. But with Belgium’s tendency to save their goals for late in the match, it could still very well be the Chelsea man that makes the difference.
Argentina progress. This is meant to be South America’s tournament. Plus, the albiceleste have a little guy known as Leo. Even when they struggle, Messi’s managed to bail them out.
One blogger’s prediction
Working off my 0% record here, I’m going to go ahead and say Argentina take this one. Because someday, someday, I’m going to be right.