In the 8th minute Gonzalo Higuaín scored from the middle of the box. He found himself in just the right position. A weird deflection of a pass from Ángel di María came to Higuaín in just the right spot. And he made short work putting the ball into the net going across the goal. No way Thibaut Courtois or anyone else was getting to that ball. It was way too powerful
Getting Argentina started off a steal from midfield. It was a good bit of passing. Of course Lionel Messi had a touch that helped to create some space for the team. A couple of passes looked like solid play that was missing early. And all of sudden Argentina was ahead. It is always good to get a fast start.
Ángel di María coming off in the 33rd minute could prove important. He has been the only bright spot outside of Messi. But he has also spent an inordinate amount of time writhing in pain on the pitch grass. Still everyone can get an injury and this is legitimate. Shall see how it affects Argentina’s ability to create.
There was mostly just leisurely back and forth for most of the the first half. I would not say that either side had an advantage.
Much the same in the second half. Lots of back and forth. No real advantage for either team.
As time wore on, Belgium became more and more urgent. They put more pressure on up front. A couple of solid chances with set pieces. But even with their size advantage, the Red Devils could not get much down.
Then five extra minutes in this tournament that has been full of extra time goals.
Courtois had a great top of the box save against Messi in the 3rd minute of extra time. It was probably the best play of the game.
Then on a flurry of activity in the 4th minute; Belgium had chances from all their forward guys. But to no avail. The Antwerps [sorry I am still a little bitter about the US game and I am completely sworn off Brussel Sprouts and Belgian Waffles] are not able to get anything going. The most heard criticism of this “golden generation” of Red Devils is that they do not play well together. I would have to agree. They have a lot of guys [stars maybe] in their mid-20s who will likely be back. But they have to work together better.
Argentina continues to get move forward. But in my opinion; this is luck over skill. The goal was more a lucky chance. Then they simply held on. No real sparks. They just were content with going through. But I thought their defense did look much improved over earlier in the tournament. And there was a total commitment to the “survive”. That only works against an anemic offense like they faced today. If they get a better scoring team like Nederlands next; they will need to actually exhibit some skill to truly win.