Argentina v Belgium (17.00 GMT)
The Argentians were one of the pre-tournament favourites but have not really impressed as of yet, sale all of their games have been won by a single goal and they struggled to get past Switzerland in the last round, they needed extra-time and a late goal to gain a path into the quarter finals. Of course when you have someone like Messi in your side who is capable of turning a match on his own then you are always in with a chance.
Belgium have pretty much done as expected thus far, I think everyone would have expected them not to concede many goals with one of the strongest defences in the competition but at the same time you would not expect them to score too many but they have done enough to get this far, they have scored 5 and conceded just 2 goals in their 4 matches.
Argentina are the side that I put up to win the World Cup but if I am being honest, what I have seen of them so far has not impressed me at all whilst Belgium have as expected been very solid at the back but lack in goals. I was expecting more goals from Argentina because we all knew of their defencive frailties but they couldn’t even score in 90 minutes against the Swiss. This is another game where I am not expecting too many goals, if it is won in 90 minutes then it will probably be by a goal to nil and I shall be playing HT/FT market in this one.
HT/FT – Draw/Argentina which is best priced 5.50
Argentina don’t appear to be as good as people maybe thought and do seem to rely too much on Messi although this has been a clear philosophy of theirs for a while, and why not? Messi is so talented that he clearly should be the player they build a team around. Di Maria is a player I really like and I tipped him pre-tourney to be worth watching
Belgium were the dark horses pre-tourney with many mentions of their golden generation and their potential to do well – what has been clearly shown in this WC is that any team can beat another on any day; no team should be written-off and Belgium clearly have a good chance of going all the way – whether they can or not depends on how they approach the games and if they can mentally stand up and be counted
If Belgium believe enough then they can spring a big surprise here – Brazil last night were pretty lucky (courtesy of some poor refereeing and some average Colombian finishing) and Argentina may be the same tonight, a team that aren’t as good as we think and capable of being beaten by a decent side such as Belgium
Messi could be the difference of course but the combined teamwork of the Belgians may be enough to contain and even beat the more favoured side who rely too much on a couple of individuals
Draw again for me and maybe under 2.5 goals, not an easy game to call though as Belgium may spring a big surprise here 2-1