Saturday 5th July 2014 17:00 LOC / 21:00 BST/06.00 AEST Arena Fonte Nova Salvador, Brazil
Rojo – LB – Suspension
Aguero – ST – 20%
Expected Team (4-3-3)
Argentina have a major problem in defence after getting through their tough Round of 16 match with a late winner against Switzerland.
Marcos Rojo has been ruled out after picking up his 2nd booking of the tournament in the Round of 16 game. Argentina do not have a natural replacement in the squad, with their defensive options coming in the form of Campagnaro, Basanta and Demichelis. Basanta is likely to start after playing some of the season at LB for Monterrey, his club side.
Sergio Aguero is still a major doubt with a thigh strain suffered in the final group game against Nigeria. He is unlikely to be risked from the start if he is available at all and so Lavezzi should continue up front, despite a limited performance against Switzerland. Rodrigo Palacio is another option should Alex Sabella wish to change things.
The rest of the side is expected to remain the same despite once again failing to put in a performance that justifies their tag as one of the favourites to win the tournament.
Bench (from): Andújar GK, Orion GK, Campagnaro CB, Demichelis CB, Biglia DM, Rodriguez RM/AM, Perez CM, A. Fernandez RW, Alvarez AM, Aguero SS/ST, Palacio ST/LW
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Struggling with the weight of expectation and failing to play the kind of football the fans are expecting, Argentina have just done enough so far without impressing in any of their games. Messi has shone at spells despite this and they will rely on him once again to lift them.
• Appeared to pick up no fresh injuries in 2-1 win over USA, so just Vanden Borre absent for this one. • Still a big dilemma for Wilmots up front, with Origi and Lukaku both playing their roles last night. • Should benefit from playing a team who will attack them and leave spaces to be countered into.
Vanden Borre – RB/LB – Injury
Vermaelen – CB/LB – 10%
Defour – CM – Suspension
Expected Team (4-2-3-1)
After a gruelling 2-1 win against USA to progress to this stage Marc Wilmots will assess the fitness of his players before beginning to plan for Argentina in the quarter-final, with captain Vincent Kompany playing 120 minutes through pain to help his side advance last night.
Kompany is expected to be given rest and should be fine, while the extra days off should also see Thomas Vermaelen being able to return to the bench. With Steven Defour back from his one-game suspension this means that only Anthony Vanden Borre is out, so Wilmots has a very strong squad to choose from should he wish to change anything.
The coach still has a major dilemma over Divock Origi and Romelu Lukaku in attack, with the youngster given the nod against USA and playing for 90 minutes until Lukaku came on to do the damage to a tired defence in extra time. He may attempt to do the same again here, but risks upsetting Lukaku whose confidence should now be higher.
Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne are automatic choices in behind him but Dries Mertens will come under threat from the extra pace of Kevin Mirallas for the counter attack, with the Everton man excellent off the bench as well in the last game. Axel Witsel will certainly play but the position alongside him may be up for grabs, with Marouane Fellaini perhaps lacking the defensive attributes and mobility for a game like this one. Moussa Dembele could well be handed a recall as a result.
Bench (from): Bossut GK, Mignolet GK, Ciman CB, Vermaelen CB/LB, Lombaerts CB, Defour CM, Dembele CM/AM/LW, Chadli RW/AM/CM, Januzaj RW/LW/AM, Mirallas RW/LW/SS, Lukaku ST
Tactical Keys to the Game:
Motivational Keys to the Game:
Football Form Labs Betting Preview: Argentina (5) v Belgium (11)
Both teams required extra time in the second round before advancing and we could see some tired legs on display here. Argentina were the less impressive of the two teams as they struggled to create much against a stubborn Swiss side and had looked to be heading for penalties before Lionel Messi provided the assist for Angel di Maria’s winner. Nevertheless it extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games during which they’ve kept eight clean sheets.
Argentina are unbeaten in 10 games against UEFA nations with eight wins and they’ve won nine of 11 unbeaten matches played in South America against European countries since 1998. However, their record against top-15 ranked sides has been poor in recent times as they’ve won just one of their last seven such matches with five draws including four nil-nils.
Belgium produced their best performance of the tournament against the USA but were hanging on at the end of extra-time as they appeared to struggle physically. Since the start of qualifying for these finals they’ve gone 14 games without defeat, including 12 wins, and 10 of those matches had fewer than three goals with none having more than this amount. However, only one of those opponents was ranked above them and none were in the top 10. In fact since 2007 they’ve lost 10 of their 11 matches against top-10 ranked sides with six defeats by more than one goal.
Since 1986 12 of the 28 World Cup quarter-finals have finished level after 90 minutes, with 16 having fewer than three goals and 16 being level at half-time. The last time both teams had required extra- time in the second round before a quarter-final was the Spain v South Korea match in 2002 and that finished 0-0 before going all the way to penalties.
While both teams had tiring matches in the second round Belgium’s match was played at a far higher tempo and we think that fact, combined with the excellent record of South American nations against European sides in South America, makes Argentina a touch of value. We would expect it to be a tight game, however, with neither side likely to push too hard too early after their exertions on Tuesday.