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Soccer World Cup

2014 World Cup: Argentina’s Player Ratings vs. Belgium

2014 World Cup: Argentina's Player Ratings vs. Belgium

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The Argentine defense finally came to play, as they managed to beat Belgium to advance to the semifinals. Demichellis and Garay formed an impenetrable duo and once again, Argentina relied on the heroics of Lionel Messi to score. Find out how each Argentina player performed against Belgium.

GK - Sergio Romero

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GK - Sergio Romero

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Once again, Sergio Romero came up big for Argentina with key saves against Belgium. He didn't have too much to work with, but responded well when he was asked to. That said, he did fail to cut a number of crosses that a goalkeeper his size should be able to take care of. 6-out-of-10 for Romero.

RB - Pablo Zabaleta

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RB - Pablo Zabaleta

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Coming into this game, he was one of Argentina's most questioned defenders. Today, he was able to neutralize one of Belgium's best players. Eden Hazard never found any space to operate in, as Zabaleta was stuck on him like glue. Zabaleta never let him get as much as a cross in and came out as the winner of their personal battle. 8-out-of-10 for Zabaleta.

CB - Martin Demichellis

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CB - Martin Demichellis

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It should be of no surprise that Argentina's best defensive performance coincides with Martin Demichellis' addition to the starting 11. He used his experience and timing extremely well, always covering his zone with ease. When Belgium was on full-attack mode, he and Garay anchored an impenetrable defense. 8.5-out-of-10 for Demichellis.

CB - Ezequiel Garay

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CB - Ezequiel Garay

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Ezequiel Garay had his best game as an Argentine international. He was never once beat on the dribble, won every header that came to him, and made key tackles that gave Argentina the clean-sheet. Even when Lukaku came on, Garay managed to control the Belgian beast with relative ease. 9-out-of-10 for Garay.

LB - Jose Maria Basanta

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LB - Jose Maria Basanta

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Jose Maria Basanta was the surprise starter over the injured Marcos Rojo. Given that he's usually deployed as a center-back, he hardly ever went on forward runs and stayed back to defend his flank. He did well in that sense, locking Mirallas down. He also handled Fellaini's size as best as he could, even beating him in a couple of headers. 7-out-of-10 for Basanta.

CM - Lucas Biglia

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CM - Lucas Biglia

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Lucas Biglia started in place of Fernando Gago and didn't disappoint. He helped Argentina keep possession of the ball for large portions of the game and did a better job of defending than Gago had been doing all tournament. Biglia never gave the ball away and always made the right passes. 7-out-of-10 for Biglia.

CM - Javier Mascherano

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CM - Javier Mascherano

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Javier Mascherano wasn't as noticeable as he has been throughout the tournament, though that might be due to the rest of the Argentine defense not needing "Jefecito" to clean up their usual mistakes. Mascherano still managed to stop a number of Belgian attacks and ignite his own counterattacks. 7.5-out-of-10 for Mascherano.

RW - Angel di Maria

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RW - Angel di Maria

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Argentina took a huge blow when Angel di Maria had to walk off with an injury. Before his unfortunate substitution, di Maria was getting into great positions with his speed and dribbling to create for himself and others. Although it was an accident, he gave the assist for the Higuain goal. 6-out-of-10 for di Maria.

LW - Ezequiel Lavezzi

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LW - Ezequiel Lavezzi

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In many ways, Ezequiel Lavezzi is a coach's dream. Even though he's an extremely skilled forward with all the tools to be world-class, he always goes out of his way to track back and help the team defend. Although Lavezzi didn't do too much on offense, he was key in dropping back to recover lost balls. 6-out-of-10 for Lavezzi

CAM - Lionel Messi

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CAM - Lionel Messi

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In one of the few times that Lionel Messi showed up throughout the match, he made an amazing play that led to Argentina's first goal. After that, he was mostly well defended by Witsel and Fellaini. The few times that he did get the ball, he always left the Belgian defense a mess. He missed a last-minute goal against a great save from Courtois. 7-out-of-10 for Messi.

ST - Gonzalo Higuain

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ST - Gonzalo Higuain

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One can only imagine how much Higuain has been itching for a goal this year. He finally managed to get on the scoreboard during the tournament, and it came by way of a fantastic volley. He was Argentina's biggest offensive threat, and almost scored off an amazing counterattack, but was denied by the crossbar. 8.5-out-of-10 for Higuain.

Sub - Enzo Perez

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Sub - Enzo Perez

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Enzo Perez had the tough task of replacing the injured Angel di Maria. Despite the burden, Perez responded extremely well and was both an offensive threat and a defensive help for Argentina. He was able to beat Vertonghen a few times off the dribble and always fell back to help on defense. 7-out-of-10 for Perez.

Sub - Rodrigo Palacio

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Sub - Rodrigo Palacio

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Rodrigo Palacio came on for an exhausted Ezequiel Lavezzi to give Argentina some fresh legs and score on a counter-attack. While he didn't have too many chances, he managed to get a couple passes in for others to score. 6-out-of-10 for Palacio.

Sub - Fernando Gago

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Sub - Fernando Gago

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No grade for Fernando Gago, who came in to defend the midfield and start up any counterattacks. He didn't play enough to have an impact on the field.