FIFA 2014

FIFA World Cup: Belgium face Argentina, Costa Rica to face mighty Dutch

BELO HORIZONTE: Twice champions Argentina take on in-form Belgium in the World Cup quarter-finals before the Netherlands face surprise packages Costa Rica later on Saturday.

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The South Americans, who have yet to hit top form in Brazil, will need to improve against the Europeans, who have confirmed their status as the tournament’s dark horses with four successive wins.

The Argentines are bidding to reach the last four for the first time since 1990 and their supporters are wondering whether four-times world player of the year Lionel Messi can take them all the way, just as Diego Maradona did in 1986.

The Netherlands are firm favourites against Costa Rica but the 2010 World Cup finalists have been warned after the Central Americans saw off three former champions in the group stage and kept their cool in a penalty shootout against Greece.

After finishing above England, Italy and Uruguay in Group D, Costa Rica want to become the first team from the CONCACAF region to reach the semi-finals since the United States in the first World Cup in 1930.

The Dutch had a last-gasp escape in the previous round, scoring twice in the final minutes to beat Mexico, and forward Arjen Robben has warned his team mates not to take their opponents lightly at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador. (Reuters)

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