Prior to the start of the tournament, many had Argentina as the favorites to bring home the World Cup trophy. Their form, both in defense and attack has been lackluster and many speculate whether they have what it takes to win it all. Belgium also possess a talented roster but not to the depth in attack as that of the Albiceleste.
Will Messi once again prove pivotal in leading his compatriots to victory? Is this World Cup the tournament where the Argentine can finally put his critics to rest by lifting the elusive trophy as his countryman, Maradona once had? Are the Belgians going to dig deep and pull off the ultimate upset?
Even though both teams went into extra time and fatigue coupled with the conditions may take its toll, the team that possess the mental focus throughout the entire match will be the ones to advance to the semifinals.
Who: Argentina v Belgium
Where: Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, Brasilia
When: 18.00 CET / 12.00 pm ET / 9.00 am PT
The second match of the day features one of the most exciting attacks of the tournament, the Netherlands. Former Inter trequartista Wesley Sneijder silenced his critics as he scored the first goal in the match against Mexico that saw the Dutch advance. With Milan's De Jong out for the rest of the tournament, the midfield will be lacking an "enforcer" type of brute who will bring terror to his opponents. Costa Rica on the other hand have been the ultimate Upset Kings. Against all odds, they advanced in a group which left England and Italy knocked out at the group stages. In their previous match against Greece, the Costa Rican players were a man down for about an hour including extra time and with goalkeeper Navas' save, advanced after a tumultuous penalty shoot out.
On paper the Dutch are the favorites but this Costa Rican team should not be dismissed. Will the Netherlands finally live up to all of their potential or will Costa Rican heart and grit prevail?
Who: Netherlands v Costa Rica
Where: Fonte Nova, Salvador
When: 22.00 CET / 4.00 pm ET / 1.00 pm PT