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The common theme of recent games seem to be ‘overtime,’ and Argentina v Switzerland was no different. With a well-constructed through ball, Argentina got through to the quarterfinal. Team USA needs to hold their heads up high, despite the loss to Belgium, with Tim Howard making a historic 16 saves on goal.
Argentina v Switzerland, 1-0
With favorites Argentina on the pitch, neither side could find the back of the net by the half. Switzerland seemed to have the advantage, with several shots and chances on the goal. Not until the 76th minute did a shot through traffic from Messi almost make it past Swiss goalkeeper Benaglio. Beneglio couldn’t hang on to the ball but his defenders were able to get the ball out before Argentina could capitalize on the opportunity. For the third time in the Round of 16, goalless, the game goes into overtime.
Usual opponents in their respective clubs, Messi sent a well-placed pass to Ángel di María, who perfectly placed it across the goal with only two minutes left in overtime. The Swiss almost tied it up in stoppage time, but couldn’t manage to create the magic.
As many critics, including The New York Times noted, Messi needed to show up and score, especially with the pressure and constant comparison between he and Argentina legend Diego Maradona. Although they move on, all eyes will still be on Argentina’s number 10.
Belgium v USA, 2-1
In an excruciating game for the USA, again, a game going into overtime scoreless. The US were on the ropes for much of the game, while the Belgium team could not penetrate a strong defense, and one of the best goalkeepers out there, Tim Howard.
Going into overtime, Belgium came out with a vengeance, and much like Germany did, scored in the 92nd minute. The USA seemed to be on the ropes, and conceded another goal just before the half. Changing out Alejandro Bedoya for the youngest player in US history Julian Green, within the second minute of the second half, Green would become a national hero scoring a goal, and bringing the US back in it.
Despite the momentum, chance after chance could not find the back of the net. The Guardian noted this was the first time Belgium would get through to the quarterfinals in the modern World Cup.
An undefeated Belgium will face Argentina on Saturday July 5.
The stage is now set for the quarterfinals with France v Germany and Brazil v Columbia on Friday July 4, and Argentina v Belgium and Netherlands v Costa Rica on Saturday July 5.