Belgian Coach Praises Side Ahead Of Argentina Quarter-Final

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  • Belgium coach Marc Wilmots paid tribute to his side after they reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, and feels that Argentina are a scalp they are more than capable of taking.

    Belgium survived a frenetic contest against the USA that ended 2-1 in favour of Wilmots' side during extra-time, after goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were enough to seal a place in the quarter-finals.

    The USA put up a spirited fight however as a superb volley from substitute Julian Green sparked off a feisty recovery, but Belgium hung on and ensured that they face Argentina in the quarter-finals this Saturday in Brasilia.

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    Belgian coach Wilmots praised his side's determination, saying: “It was bad for my heart! But I am happy now, only concentrating on Argentina in the next round. We deserved the victory, we deserve to be in the quarter-finals.

    “People said we were not a good footballing team, but we created a chance after two minutes and must have had about 20 more. Tim Howard had a fantastic match. I think we saw a lot of football from Belgium tonight, a lot of movement."

    Argentina meanwhile struggled past Switzerland with a 1-0 win after Angel di Maria's 118th-minute winner in extra time, but Wilmots says that he feels two-time World Cup winners Argentina enter as favourites in their quarter-final.

    “Usually when you miss chances at this level you don’t go forward, you get eliminated. But we turned the situation in our favour through our mental and physical strength. We will not be favourites in the quarter-final but I don’t mind. Argentina had a tough match today too, and there is perhaps a lack of balance in their team."

    Currently 8/1 to score first against Argentina with Bet365, Lukaku's goal against the USA was his first of the World Cup, and Wilmots added: “Playing Divock Origi was a difficult decision for me. People were right to criticise Romelu Lukaku – he hadn’t been producing – but I told him not to worry, the second round might be his time, and so it proved."

    Defender Vincent Kompany shrugged off a groin injury to play against the USA and should play against Argentina, while fellow defender Thomas Vermaelen may miss out due to a hamstring problem. Marouane Felliani will also be fit having played against the USA without defect, while Argentina look unchanged although Sergio Aguero remains an unknown due to a muscle injury that may rule him out for the rest of the tournament.

    Lionel Messi will take part, and after four goals lies just one behind top goalscorer James Rodriguez of Colombia. Messi is 7/2 to score first against Belgium with Coral, and 5/2 to be top overall goalscorer of the tournament.

    Argentina take on Belgium at 5pm in Brasilia on Saturday 5 July, and you can compare all the odds for the World Cup right here.

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