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Aegentina 1- Belgium 0, Netherlands 4 -Costa Rica 3


07-06-2014 13:31 BJT

Full coverage: World Cup 2014

A place into the semi-finals was on the line as Argentina faced Belgium in Brasilia. A win by Lionel Messi and co would see them reach the last four for the first time in 24 years.

Gonzalo Higuain opened the scoring after only eight minutes. The Napoli striker buried a shot into the corner of the net. The South Americans took a 1-0 lead against the Belgians.

Argentina almost extended the lead when Higuain beat Thibaut Courtois but saw his shot clip the cross bar.

Messi also came close, but Courtois proved solid in front of goal to deny the shot from the super star.

Belgium rarely threatened, spending most of the time on the defensive side, and that was their doom as they fall 1-nil to Argentina, who last appeared in the semi-finals in 1990.

The other quarter-final match was staged in Salvador between the Netherlands and Costa Rica. Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas continued his stunning form at the tournament. Sneijder had a free-kick hit the post and another denied by the crossbar.

The match was forced into penalty shootout after a scoreless 120 minutes. Substitute keeper Tim Krul was specially brought on for the shootout, and twice denied penalties from the Costa Ricans. The Netherlands won 4-3 on penalties.

The Dutch will now face Argentina in the semi-finals on Wednesday. They look to reach the final for the second consecutive World Cup. The Netherlands lost to Spain in extra time four years ago. The other battle in the last four will see hosts Brazil entertain Germany on Tuesday. The five-time champs will look to move a step closer to the title on home soil.

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