Jul 5, 2014 at 5pm UK at ​Estadio Nacional de Brasilia, Brasilia
Argentina
1-0
Belgium
Higuain (8')
Biglia (75')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Hazard (53'), Alderweireld (68')

Live Commentary: Argentina 1-0 Belgium - as it happened

Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain celebrates with teammates Angel Di Maria, Lionel Messi and Lucas Biglia after scoring the opening goal against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup quarter-final in Brasilia on July 5, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and Belgium.

Argentina have progressed through to the semi-finals of the World Cup finals after they recorded a 1-0 victory over Belgium.

Striker Gonzalo Higuain netted the decisive goal after just eight minutes when he fired an instinctive effort from 14 yards into the bottom corner of Thibaut Courtois's net.

Belgium offered very little in reply to that opener, and Argentina deserve to take their place in the last four against either the Netherlands or Costa Rica.

Read below to see how the action unfolded in Brasilia.


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4.01pmHello, and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and Belgium.

4.05pmAfter the first two last-eight encounters resulted in excitement levels being reached at opposite ends of the scale, this contest between Argentina and Belgium should be up there with one of the most intriguing matches of the whole tournament. Despite both teams recording four successive victories, performances have been mixed but when each team finds their rhythm, they are two of the most attractive sides in international football. Will we get to see them at their best today? Let's hope so!

4.07pmWithout further ado, I'm going to crack on with the team news. There are changes in both starting lineups.

4.08pmARGENTINA XI: Romero; Zabaleta, Demichelis, Garay, Basanta; Biglia, Mascherano; Di Maria, Lavezzi, Messi; Higuain

4.11pmArgentina coach Alejandro Sabella has made three changes to the side that started against Switzerland on Tuesday evening. One is enforced after left-back Marcos Rojo picked up his select yellow card of the tournament in the last-16 clash, and he has been replaced by José Maria Basanta. Elsewhere in the defence, Manchester City's Martin Demichelis comes in for Federico Fernandez while Lucas Biglia replaces Fernando Gago in midfield.

4.13pmBELGIUM XI: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, Fellaini; De Bruyne, Mirallas, Hazard; Origi

4.16pmBelgium boss Marc Wilmots has opted to make just the one alteration from his team's exciting 2-1 triumph over USA with Kevin Mirallas being rewarded for the impact that he made on Tuesday with a starting role instead of Dries Mertens. There had been speculation that Romelu Lukaku could be recalled, but Wilmots has decided to keep faith with Divock Origi.

4.19pmGoing back to that Argentina side, it's worth noting that Sergio Aguero hasn't recovered sufficiently enough to earn a recall in attack, but he is expected to be fit to make an appearance from the substitutes' bench, should Argentina need him.

4.22pmBefore I press on and talk about each team's respective campaigns, it's time for my obligatory plug of our World Cup section. I may be slightly biased, but I'd say that it's the best you are likely to find anywhere. Check it out here.

4.27pmSo then, let's take a look at how Argentina have fared in Brazil. They may have reached the quarter-finals and have the potential to go much further, but it's hardly been a spectacular few weeks for the South Americans. They were lethargic against both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran in their opening two games, before they improved slightly in netting three times against Nigeria. However, the slowness that had effected their play returned against Switzerland, and it's fair to say that they were fortunate to progress past their last-16 opponents who pushed them all the way. Sabella's worries over his side are probably highlighted by the fact that he has made as many as three changes for such an important fixture this evening.

4.32pmLike with Argentina, it's been a similar story for Belgium. Before the tournament, they were fancied to have a lengthy run, and while that has materialised, it hasn't been in the manner that many had expected. They had to rely on late goals against Algeria and Russia to book their place in the second round before struggling past South Korea. In all fairness though, their general play against USA was, at times, scintillating, and if it wasn't for the heroics of Tim Howard, they would have won that game three or four nil in normal time. That said, their finishing is proving to be a problem, and they can't afford to squander opportunities against a team like Argentina.

4.36pmOne player who features in today's starting lineups that you may not have heard of before is Argentina's José Maria Basanta. He's one of just two players in his nation's 23-man squad not to experience European football, but that hasn't prevented him carving out a solid career. The 30-year-old currently represents Mexican side Monterrey, where he has made over 200 appearances and won two Mexican titles.

4.39pmIn the build-up to this quarter-final, Argentina's favourite son Diego Maradona hasn't been very complimentary about his team's chances for the rest of the tournament. You can read what he has had to say here.

4.43pmBefore I attempt to make some kind of prediction for this match, I should remind you that this isn't the only World Cup quarter-final that is taking place today. Later on this evening, Netherlands will be the big favourites to progress against Costa Rica, but we have already seen on more than one occasion that the underdogs can prevail in this World Cup. Of course, you catch all of the action with Sports Mole from 8pm, BST.

4.47pmPREDICTION! This is a tough one to call, but I'm going to base this prediction on the previous games in the tournament. Argentina arguably boast the bigger star names, but so far, they have played as individuals. Belgium possess a ridiculous amount of talent in their ranks, but the difference is that they play as a team, and if they create half the amount of chances that they did against USA, they will win this game. 2-1 to Belgium, perhaps after extra time.

4.51pmWe are less than 10 minutes away from kickoff in Brasilia. I can't wait for this - it should be a cracker!

4.55pmThe two teams have made their way onto the pitch to an expectant crowd. First things first, both team captains address the crowd to put across Fifa's message to rid the game of discrimination.

1 minStrap yourself in, folks. We are underway in Brasilia.

3 minIt's been all Belgium at the start of this match, but when they reclaimed the ball, Argentina broke in numbers and the ball found Ezequiel Lavezzi on the left. He attempted to drive the ball across goal, but it was well defended by Vincent Kompany.

6 minThat's not what we like to see. Kevin Mirallas attempted to get around the outside of Javier Mascherano but after losing out to the Argentine, he threw himself to the ground. Mascherano was probably justified in calling for a card, but we don't particularly want to see that either.

8 minGOAL! Argentina 1-0 Belgium (Higuain)

8 minWhere did that come from?! Out of nowhere, Argentina take the lead through Gonzalo Higuain. A pass from Angel di Maria was deflected into the path of the Napoli striker, who let fly with an instinctive first-time shot from 14 yards to send the ball into the bottom corner. Thibaut Courtois had no chance.

12 minBelgium are managing to get into threatening areas but so far, Argentina are quick to pressure them before they can play in Origi. It's been an high-energy start from the South Americans - they look a different side today.

14 minSHOT! Kevin de Bruyne has enjoyed a terrific tournament but that particular effort from 25 yards is well wide of the target. Marc Wilmots will be relying on the former Chelsea man to get on the ball a little bit more than he has done so far.

17 minJan Vertonghen was a constant threat down the left flank against USA and he displays the same kind of intent here. He powered past Angel di Maria before firing a ball into the box that Ezequiel Garay had to head out for a corner, which came to nothing.

19 minHere's a picture of Higuain's fabulous finish from inside the penalty area.



22 minArgentina are putting together some lovely stuff in the final third. Javier Mascherano drove the ball into Lionel Messi, who attempted to flick the ball into the path of Gonzalo Higuain but there are just too much power on it.

25 minSHOT! That's better from Kevin de Bruyne, who attempts an instinctive strike on Sergio Romero's goal from 25 yards out, but the Argentina stopper is equal to it.

28 minUp the other end, Argentina broke through Angel di Maria, who was left one-on-one with Vincent Kompany. The Real Madrid looked ready to get a shot on target from the edge of the penalty area, but Kompany stuck out a vital leg in front of his effort.

31 minWe are 30 minutes through this contest now, and it's definitely been Argentina's half. There is so much more urgency than in their previous encounters, and Belgium are struggling to cope. Belgium have had plenty of the ball, but they have done very little with it. Divock Origi has been anonymous.

33 minSUBSTITUTION! This is a huge blow for Argentina. When taking that shot five minutes ago, Angel di Maria appeared to do something to his thigh, and it has forced him off the pitch. Benfica's Enzo Perez has come on in his place.

36 minThere's not too much happening in the game right now. Argentina are defending extremely well, and it's beginning to frustrate some of the Belgium players. Marc Wilmots has work to do at the break.

38 minThat's insane control from Lionel Messi! The ball is thundered at him but he brings it down in an instant before dancing around a couple of players and earning a foul right on the edge of the penalty area in a central position. Big chance this.

40 minIt was close, but Lionel Messi fails to double Argentina's lead. The Barcelona maestro opted for power and the side of the goal that Thibaut Courtois was standing, but the shot was a yard over the crossbar.

42 minCHANCE! Jan Vertonghen has some left foot on him. The Tottenham Hotspur defender whips another excellent cross into the middle that is met by the head of Kevin Mirallas, but his 12-yard effort missed the post by inches. That was the best that Belgium have mustered all half.

45 minThere will be two minutes of added-on time.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Argentina 1-0 Belgium

5.50pmThe half-time whistle has gone in Brasilia and Argentina lead Belgium through Gonzalo Higuain's superbly taken goal in the eighth minute. It hasn't been one-way traffic, but Alejandro Sabella's side have performed much better than Belgium, who, in truth, have been disappointing. Marc Wilmots has worked wonders with his substitutions in this tournament, and it looks as though he will have to do so once again.

5.55pmBoth teams have had an even amount of possession, but it's Argentina who have recorded more shots on goal than their opponents. Tempers have threatened to boil over on the odd occasion, but we have only had nine fouls in the match so far.

5.59pmWhat options does Marc Wilmots have available to him to try turn to things around? I wouldn't have thought that the introduction of Romelu Lukaku is too far away, and the same could be said of Dries Mertens unless Wilmots takes a punt on Adnan Januzaj.

46 minBoth teams have returned for the second half and we are back underway in Brasilia.

47 minWord is that the introduction of Lukaku isn't too far away. Marc Wilmots isn't hanging around.

49 minIt's been quiet since the restart, with only a Lionel Messi free kick going close to forcing either goalkeeper into action after the set piece had evaded everyone in the penalty area.

51 minSHOT! Oooh that was close. Gonzalo Higuain did superbly to bring the ball inside onto his right foot before getting a strike in on goal. However, his effort was deflected off Daniel van Buyten towards the near post, but fortunately for the veteran defender, it whizzed past the post.

53 minBOOKING! Eden Hazard is a lucky boy. He lazily dangles out his leg to try to win the ball ahead of Lucas Biglia but he catches the Argentine square on the knee with his studs. There was no intent to injury Biglia, but I have seen players dismissed for similar offences.

55 minWOODWORK! Gonzalo Higuain has been poor in this tournament but it's been a different story today. The Napoli man picks up the ball inside the Belgium half before nutmegging Vincent Kompany to clear his path on goal. However, after beating Thibaut Courtois from 18 yards, he could only watch on as his strike hit the top of the crossbar.

59 minSUBSTITUTIONS! Marc Wilmots has seen enough. Divock Origi and Kevin Mirallas have left the pitch to be replaced by Romelu Lukaku and Dries Mertens.

61 minCHANCE! Should be 1-1. Yet again, Jan Vertonghen finds his man when crossing from the left-hand side but after jumping above his marker, Marouane Fellaini could only head over the crossbar from 12 yards.

65 minEzequiel Garay is a very relieved man. Belgium slowly built up a head of steam before Kevin de Bruyne tried to find Romelu Lukaku with a low right-wing cross. The ball never reached Lukaku, but it was nearly diverted into his own net by Garay, who brings a sharp save out of Sergio Romero.

68 minBOOKING! Toby Alderweireld has gone close to picking up a booking already in this match, but he hasn't survived this time. The Atletico Madrid man has been cautioned for a high challenge on Lucas Biglia.

72 minThere's less than 20 minutes remaining in Brasilia and Belgium need to find something and fast. They have improved slightly since the substitutions but Argentina are still in full control. It will be interesting to see if Marc Wilmots is brave enough to withdraw Eden Hazard, because the Chelsea winger has been non-existent yet again.

75 minBOOKING! Lucas Biglia goes into the book for the most cynical of blocks on Jan Vertonghen. Before the set piece is taken, Hazard has indeed been withdrawn for Nacer Chadli.

78 minThis is the 11th match of the knockout stages and it looks as though it is going to be the 11th game that hasn't seen more than three goals. Where have they gone?!

81 minSUBSTITUTION! This is rather conservative from Alejandro Sabella. Gonzalo Higuain is being replaced by midfielder Fernando Gago, who will slip in alongside Javier Mascherano in front of the back four.

83 minMarouane Fellaini is almost playing alongside Romelu Lukaku but he is feeding on scraps. It's been a tough afternoon for the Manchester United midfielder, who has found himself chasing Lionel Messi around for much of the contest.

87 minAgain, a long ball is sent into the box for the likes of Lukaku, Fellaini and Van Buyten to get on the end of, but the referee quickly blows for a foul. It's been one of those games for the Red Devils. Three minutes to go.

90 minOUCH! Enzo Perez looks in some distress after clashing with teammate Pablo Zabaleta but after a minute or so of treatment, he is back up. There will be five minutes of added-on time.

90+3 minBelgium have posed no threat whatsoever to Sergio Romero's goal during these closing moments. It's been very disappointing. Argentina are two minutes away, and if they can hang on, they will deserve it.

90+4 minCHANCES! After Belgium lose the ball, Argentina break in numbers and Lionel Messi is sent through on goal but Thibaut Courtois does superbly to block his shot. Up the other end, the ball falls to Alex Witsel around 25 yards out but his volley cleared the crossbar. That could be it.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Argentina 1-0 Belgium

6.56pmThe referee blows the full-time whistle in Brasilia and Argentina have progressed to the last four of the World Cup finals thanks to a goal from Gonzalo Higuain. The match didn't live up to its billing, but Argentina won't care - they have reached the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1990. As for Belgium, they were poor this evening, but they have plenty to take encouragement from ahead of the European Championship in 2016.

6.58pmArgentina will now play the winner of the final last-eight clash between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. That takes place later this evening.

6.59pmThat will be all from Sports Mole for this match, but we hope that you rejoin us for the Netherlands and Costa Rica encounter in an hour. Goodbye for now.

Divock Origi of Belgium celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Eden Hazard during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group H match on June 22, 2014
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