Argentina v Belgium - Match Preview: Chelsea stars key

Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku will have to step up their game if Belgium are to defeat Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.

To be played on Saturday 5th July 2014 at 17:00. Venue: Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brasília.

Odds: Argentina 11/10, Draw 23/10, Belgium 11/4

Preview & injury news

Both of these teams had to take their last-16 ties to extra time before they could score and then subsequently progress.

Argentina struggled against Switzerland for long periods before finally scoring in the 118th minute, thanks to a superb Lionel Messi run which helped set up Angel di Maria.

Meanwhile, Belgium were the better team against the USA but came up against a human brick wall in the form of Tim Howard.

On paper, Argentina are favourites, but their form hasn’t been anywhere near as good as what everyone was expecting coming into the tournament. Belgium haven’t played to their best either. If either one of these sides can find their form, then they could easily progress into the semi-finals.

Sergio Aguero remains out with a thigh tear, while Marcos Rojo is suspended after picking up a yellow card against Switzerland.

Key stats

1) Lionel Messi is Argentina’s second all-time top scorer with 42 goals in 90 caps at the age of just 27.

2) Daniel Van Buyten will need to overcome Argentina and progress to the semi-finals if he is to match fifth-placed Enzo Scifo in the all-time most capped Belgium players' list. He is currently on 82.

3) Belgium are yet to score before 70 minutes in this World Cup with five of their six goals coming from substitutes.

Five players to watch

Romelu Lukaku - Had a disappointing World Cup up until he came off the bench against the USA. Really exploded, setting up one and scoring another, and might just be in the mood now.

Lionel Messi - Has effectively dragged Argentina to the quarter-finals and it won’t stop here. Their best player by a long distance and his teammates will be looking to give him the ball as much as possible.

Eden Hazard - Still hasn’t really got into this World Cup but has shown that he has the potential. He has been marked out of it far too easily and will need to up his game to get out of more tricky situations.

Angel di Maria - Gave away the ball 37 times in 90 minutes against Switzerland, but never gave up and as a result got his goal. Expect pure perseverance until he gets what he wants.

Divock Origi - Whether he comes off the bench or starts, this 19-year-old can create a real spark. Just lacked the finishing to score against the USA but that will come in time. Probably better used off the bench as an impact player.

Last time they met

Argentina 2-0 Belgium - July 1986.

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