Argentina vs. Belgium: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info, 2014 World Cup Preview

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Argentina vs. Belgium: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info, 2014 World Cup Preview
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The destiny of the legend of Lionel Messi lies in the hands of the player as the Barcelona forward looks to seal his reputation on a World Cup stage.

His Argentina side takes on a talented Belgium team in Saturday's first quarter-final encounter in Brasilia.

Belgium have yet to show their top form, but with a squad populated with fantastic talent from Europe's biggest clubs, they will surely be a stern test for the South American match favourites.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press

Here is how you can watch this intriguing knockout encounter:

 

When: Saturday, July 5, at 5 p.m. BST (12 p.m. ET)

Where: Brasilia, Brazil

TV: ITV HD (UK only); ESPN (U.S. only)

Live Stream: ITV Player (UK only); ESPN Player (U.S. only)

 

Battle of the Wizards: Lionel Messi vs. Eden Hazard

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

The pressure is always on Messi to perform whether that be in a Barcelona shirt or as skipper for Argentina.

The Brazil World Cup has disproved the myth that Messi does not perform in the colours of his country as he has been Argentina's best player in the past two weeks. Four man-of-the-match awards in as many games testifies to that.

Now he faces a pretender to his crown in the quarter-finals―the diminutive Eden Hazard. Chelsea's attacking midfielder is yet to fully show his hand at the World Cup as Belgium strolled their way out of the group phase and into the knockouts.

They faced a USA side full of heart and courage in the round of 16 but never looked like losing the match in normal time.

However, Hazard was anonymous for periods during the game, and if Belgium are to defeat a team as good as Argentina, he must come to the party and perform.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Hazard's recent form has been poor in comparison to his efforts in the Premier League for his club during the past 12 months. The player scored 14 times in 35 games in domestic league football, per WhoScored.com, also providing seven assists for team-mates.

But the sheer volume of football played by Hazard may well have derailed his World Cup efforts. Belgian football writer John Chapman explained just how much football the attacker has played in recent times:

This shows how valuable Hazard has become for Chelsea and Belgium, but if the player harbours ambitions to be considered one of the planet's elite performers, he must play his best against Argentina.

Hazard has the potential to outshine Messi in the match, and a disposing of Argentina will go a long way to solidifying the player's reputation as one of the finest in world football.

But yet another average display will harm opinion about him and have a detrimental effect on his country's possibilities of success.

 

Argentina to Spread the Weight of Expectation

Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

In 1986, Diego Maradona danced and hand-balled his way to glory as he singularly took Argentina to their promised land―winning the World Cup with a mixture of genius and controversy.

In 2014, Messi is expected to do similar (minus the hand of God) and take the lead in his country's bid for glory on Brazilian soil.

But 28 years on, the current Argentine side have an array of talent that Maradona would have dreamed of playing next to. Yes, Argentina's defence is not the greatest in the world, but their attack is varied and delicious. 

In Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina have one of the best No. 9s in the business. The player is a lethal injection of brilliance and accuracy.

His move away from Real Madrid to Napoli proved a success in 2013-14 as he scored 22 goals in 41 games in Serie A and Europe, per WhoScored.com, displaying all of his talents on a regular basis.

However, now Higuain and his fellow cast of superstars have to support Messi in getting the job done for Argentina.

There is an excellent opportunity for the South Americans to prevail in the competition as all of the other teams have shown frailties. 

Will Eden Hazard outshine Lionel Messi in the quarter-finals?

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Brazil and Germany may be the current favourites to lift the trophy, but if Argentina perform to their best, they are the most dangerous team left in the tournament.

Argentina can win the World Cup and add to Maradona's historical triumph, but it must be a holistic effort because Messi cannot win the competition on his own, no matter how amazing he is.

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