As the 2014 World Cup round of 16 draws to a close, only two places remain in the tournament's quarter-finals, with Argentina set to contend against Switzerland and Belgium facing the United States on Tuesday.
Alejandro Sabella's side relied heavily upon the interjections of Lionel Messi to advance from the group stage and have a fairly easy opponent in the shape of the Swiss. Meanwhile, Belgium's shaky start in the competition will again be tested by a resilient-looking U.S.A.
Read on for all the vital viewing information ahead of Tuesday's action, complete with a preview and predictions for each of the two ties.
|Date||Time||Fixture||Live Stream||TV Info||Prediction|
|July 1||5 p.m. BST/12 p.m. ET||Argentina vs. Switzerland||BBC Sport website (UK), ESPN Watch (US)||BBC One (UK), ESPN (US)||Argentina 3-1 Switzerland|
|July 1||9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET||Belgium vs. United States||BBC Sport website (UK), ESPN Watch (US)||BBC One (UK), ESPN (US)||Belgium 2-2 United States (Belgium win on penalties)|
Argentina vs. Switzerland
Switzerland may have won two of their three Group E fixtures, but that shouldn't cover the mistakes of a side that conceded five goals against France and are all too likely to give Lionel Messi similar opportunity on goal this Tuesday.
Sabella's men aren't getting complacent despite their 100 percent record, however, as South American writer Dan Colasimone states that penalties have been a prominent part of La Albiceleste's training routine of late:
Argentina have also been working on set pieces ahead of their clash with Switzerland. And practicing penalties.— Dan Colasimone (@ArgentinaFW) June 29, 2014
The absence of an injured Sergio Aguero isn't ideal for Argentina, but with the talents of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio providing backup, Sabella isn't too confounded in his dilemma.
The Swiss aren't short of their stars, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri impressing for spells in the group phase.
However, their defensive lapses have at times been criminal so far in this tournament, and if France's esteemed attack can rip them apart in such a simple manner, the Argentinian's are capable of similar.
Prediction: Argentina 3-1 Switzerland
Belgium vs. United States
Belgium have somehow maintained a 100 percent winning record at this year's World Cup despite playing some of their least imaginative football of late.
The United States haven't been far superior in terms of creativity, but considering they managed to make their way out of a group containing Germany, Portugal and Ghana, it's clear that their more rigid, sometimes regimental approach is paying off.
Belgium are yet to score a goal outside the last 20 minutes of play during this World Cup but have been defensively stingy for the large part, with Infostrada Sports indicating just how tight this clash is:
@iFCee Belgium by the way are 50/50 tomorrow (50.35 - 49.65 for US in our model) which makes it basically impossible to predict who wins.— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) June 30, 2014
Bit by bit, Marc Wilmots' side are becoming more and more accustomed to their World Cup surroundings and finding out which players cope best with the tournament atmosphere, while Jurgen Klinsmann's men also get to grips with their optimum line-up.
At times, Belgium have looked lethargic in their endeavours, but it's true that their squad has more depth and genuine quality residing within, which should be enough to see them grab a win, albeit a late one.
Prediction: Belgium 2-2 United States AET (Belgium win on penalties)