FIFA World Cup: Argentina, Belgium through to quarter-finals after extra-time drama
Zee Media Bureau/Chaitan Papnai
The ongoing Football World Cup tournament in Brazil is getting more and more exciting as it inches closer to the finals with every passing day. In the first Round of 16 match on Tuesday, Argentina beat Switzerland 1-0 in a thriller to seal a berth in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Till the first half of the extra-time, both the teams tried hard to score but couldn’t manage to find the back of the net.
However, in the second half of the extra-time, the star striker of the Argentina, Lionel Messi released the ball to Angel Di Maria on the right and the winger calmly slot the ball in with a left footer, in the bottom left corner of the Swiss goal.
The 118th minute winner by the Real Madrid winger kept Argentina’s World Cup dreams alive after a dramatic match against the resolute Switzerland. Argentina missed many opportunities to score throughout the match. And the same can also be said for the Switzerland team, who fought till the very end but failed to score, as Argentine goalie, Sergio Romero, managed to keep a clean sheet in the match. Both the goalkeepers did a fabulous glove-work to stop the strikers of both the sides to score, till the first half of the extra time.
Switzerland almost equalised in the dying minutes of the second half of the extra time, when Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross was met with a header by Blerim Dzemaili. The ball rebounded back off the foot of the post and hit Dzemaili`s legs, who had no control on his body and the ball narrowly went wide of the post again.
In the last knock-out game of the World Cup, Belgium beat USA 2-1 in another extra-time thriller. Goals from Kevin e Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku in the extra time gave Belgium the all-important two-goal lead. Substitute Julian Green pulled one back for USA, which made for a frantic finish in the end. But the dark horses of the tournament, managed to hold on despite back-to back attacks by the USA in the last minutes.
The American goalie, Tim Howard, had made a string of fine saves to keep Marc Wilmots` men at bay during the 90 minutes as the opening goal of the match came in the 93 minute by Bruyne, who fired his shot low into the far bottom corner.
Within ten minutes of the first goal, Lukaku fired the shot from a right angle, blasting it past Howard to swell Belgium’s lead to two. Though, Green managed to score a goal in the second half, it wasn’t proved enough for the USA team to reach the quarter-final stages of the tournament. Now Belgium and Argentina will lock horns with each other to make it to the semi-finals of the World Cup.