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More from our man in Rio, Euan Marshall, on tonights' Quarter Final games

Euan Marshall


Although they have yet to impress, Argentina have marched on to the quarter-finals. Their four matches in Brazil so far have followed a similar pattern: they have dominated possession and territory, but have struggled to convert that into goals, before Lionel Messi appears to get them out of jail.
Their round of 16 match against Switzerland was probably the poorest game of the round, while their opener against Bosnia-Herzegovina was equally flat. However, Belgium should offer Messi and co a different threat.

While Argentina's opponents up until now (Bosnia, Iran, Nigeria and Switzerland) have all looked to defend deep, suffocate Lionel Messi and foray forward every now and again on the counterattack, Belgium should look to give Argentina a genuine fight in midfield. This may well lead to an open and entertaining match: Belgium will try to test Argentina's defence, while Messi, Di Marca et al will be allowed more space on the ball.


WC balls

Costa Rica, the fairytale story of this World Cup, appear to be approaching the end of their Brazilian journey. After winning Group C against three former world champions in Italy, Uruguay and England, Los Ticos squeezed past Greece in the last 16 and now face Louis Van Gaal's Dutch side.
The main concern about this match for Costa Rica is exhaustion. They look extremely tired, having travelled more throughout the competition than any other quarter-finalist. In between their lengthy journeys, they have played in some difficult conditions and go into this match off the back of a draining penalty shootout win, having played most of the second half and all of extra time with only ten men. The match will be played in Salvador (where Netherlands defeated Spain 5-1), and the weather will be hot and sticky, making things even more difficult.

Van Gaal's Netherlands have started to show some vulnerability of their own, but they are in good shape and well motivated. They have won all of their matches in the second half, while in the case of the ties against Chile and Mexico, they won them in the last ten minutes of the game.

Costa Rica may well put up another good fight and hold the Dutch at bay, but it seems unlikely that they will be able to go the distance.

Ed:"Do you agree with Euan?"

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