It wasn’t the prettiest or most entertaining match, but it got the job done. Argentina had been facing a lot of criticism from the start of the World Cup. They had the best luck to be sorted into the easiest group of the tournament, and even their Round of 16 opponent Switzerland wasn’t too intimidating; if they did not make it to the quarterfinals, it meant that they were just not good, because they had one of the easiest roads to get there. Alas, they were able to make it to the quarterfinals and beat Belgium 1-0 for a spot in the semifinals.
Although everyone sees Leo Messi as the savior for the team because he is the top scorer, he was not the savior of the match against Belgium. He played his part, but he was not the one to put the point on the board. Gonzalo Higuain scored the lone goal of the match, and what a beautiful goal it was. Higuain and all Argentines should be proud of the goal that was able to zoom past top goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. This is the kind of soccer Argentina needs to continue to play if they hope to make it to the final, because after beating Belgium, they still have a tough road ahead.
Argentina will now face Netherlands or Costa Rica – depending on who wins that match later today — and both teams have had amazing performances in their World Cup runs. Netherlands is almost mechanical in execution, and they were able to save themselves from a penalty shoot out in the last minutes of their match against Mexico, and Costa Rica has been the rising underdog of the tournament, getting farther than anyone expected. I expect Costa Rica to continue shocking everyone.
This World Cup has taught fans to expect the unexpected. No teams are guaranteed to win regardless of who is on their team. Messi will not always be able to save Argentina, just like James Rodriguez was not able to save Columbia. Argentina may not be the perfect team so far, but they can obviously score when they need to win, because Argentina has yet to lose one match. Maybe they will continue their streak to the very end.