World Cup Results 2014: Tracking Final Scores, Golden Boot Contenders for Day 24

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2014

Argentina's Lionel Messi skips over the challenge of Belgium's Toby Alderweireld during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Argentina and Belgium at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, July 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The World Cup may have lost one of its brightest stars to injury Friday when Neymar broke his vertebra, but soccer fans still get to watch the brilliance of Lionel Messi after his Argentina side knocked off Belgium 1-0.

Elsewhere, Netherlands won in nerve-wracking fashion in penalty shootouts against underdog Costa Rica after playing 120 minutes of scoreless soccer.

Argentina and Netherlands joined Germany and Brazil in the semifinals. Here is a look at Saturday’s results and an update on the Golden Boot race.

World Cup Quarterfinal Saturday Results
Team 1ResultTeam 2
Argentina1-0Belgium
Netherlands0(4) - 0(3)Costa Rica
FIFA.com
World Cup Goal Scorers
PlayerCountryGoals
James RodriguezColombia6
NeymarBrazil4
Lionel MessiArgentina4
Thomas MullerGermany4
Karim BenzemaFrance3
Enner ValenciaEcuador3
Arjen RobbenNetherlands3
Robin van PersieNetherlands3
Xherdan ShaqiriSwitzerland3
Jackson MartinezColombia2
GervinhoIvory Coast2
Luis SuarezUruguay2
Tim CahillAustralia2
Mario MandzukicCroatia2
Ahmed MusaNigeria2
Andre AyewGhana2
Clint DempseyUnited States2
Memphis DepayNetherlands2
Ivan PerisicCroatia2
Wilfried BonyIvory Coast2
Asamoah GyanGhana2
Islam SlimaniAlgeria2
Alexis SanchezChile2
Bryan RuizCosta Rica2
Mats HummelsGermany2
Abdelmoumene DjabouAlgeria2
David LuizBrazil2
Angel Di MariaArgentina1
Kevin De BruyneBelgium1
Romelu LukakuBelgium1
Julian GreenUnited States1
Thiago SilvaBrazil1
Avdija VrsajevicBosnia and Herzegovina1
Reza GhoochannejhadIran1
Marcos RojoArgentina1
Juan CuadradoColombia1
Andreas SamarisGreece1
Georgios SamarasGreece1
Diego GodinUruguay1
Blaise MatuidiFrance1
Mathieu ValbuenaFrance1
Moussa SissokoFrance1
Blerim DzemailiSwitzerland1
Granit XhakaSwitzerland1
Wayne RooneyEngland1
Juan QuinteroColombia1
Ivica OlicCroatia1
Mile JedinakAustralia1
Eduardo VargasChile1
Charles AranguizChile1
Sofiane FeghouliIran1
Marouane FellainiBelgium1
Dries MertensBelgium1
Lee Keun-HoSouth Korea1
Alexander KerzhakovRussia1
Mario BalotelliItaly1
Claudio MarchisioItaly1
Daniel SturridgeEngland1
Edinson CavaniUruguay1
Joel CampbellCosta Rica1
Oscar DuarteCosta Rica1
Marcos UrenaCosta Rica1
Pablo ArmeroColombia1
Teofilo GutierrezColombia1
Stefan de VrijNetherlands1
Xabi AlonsoSpain1
OscarBrazil1
Oribe PeraltaMexico1
Jorge ValdíviaChile1
Jean BeausejourChile1
Keisuke HondaJapan1
Admir MehmediSwitzerland1
Haris SeferovicSwitzerland1
Carlo CostlyHonduras1
Vedad IbisevicBosnia and Herzegovina1
Olivier GiroudFrance1
John Anthony BrooksUnited States1
Mario GotzeGermany1
Miroslav KloseGermany1
Edin DzekoBosnia and Herzegovina1
Peter OdemwingieNigeria1
Divock OrigiBelgium1
Miralem PjanicBosnia and Herzegovina1
Rafik HallicheAlgeria1
Son Heung MinSouth Korea1
Yacine BrahimiAlgeria1
Koo JacheolSouth Korea1
NaniPortugal1
Jermaine JonesUnited States1
Silvestre VarelaPortugal1
David VillaSpain1
Fernando TorresSpain1
Juan MataSpain1
Leroy FerNetherlands1
Rafael MarquezMexico1
Andres GuardadoMexico1
Javier HernandezMexico1
Joel MatipCameroon1
FredBrazil1
FernandinhoBrazil1
Cristiano RonaldoPortugal1
Aleksandr KokorinRussia1
Jan VertonghenBelgium1
Giovani dos SantosMexico1
Wesley SneijderNetherlands1
Klaas-Jan HuntelaarNetherlands1
Sokratis PapastathopoulosGreece1
Paul PogbaFrance1
Andre SchurrleGermany1
Mesut OzilGermany1
Gonzalo HiguainArgentina1
Saturday Goal Scorers Highlighted

 

Argentina 1, Belgium 0

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

In what has been something of a theme throughout this World Cup, Argentina wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in Saturday’s match.

Gonzalo Higuain happened to be in the right place at the right time after a deflection, and he buried the initial goal in the back of the net with a strike from the top of the penalty box. It was just the type of start Argentina was looking for after their nerve-wracking defensive slugfest against Switzerland.

Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press

Argentina controlled the pace for the rest of the first half and pushed back any Belgium advances. However, ESPN Stats & Info noted that the 1-0 deficit was right where Belgium wanted the game to be if their recent history was any indication:

Argentina almost buried a decisive second goal off the foot of Higuain early in the second half, but as Squawka Football pointed out, the sidelines were more entertaining than the actual game in the aftermath:

The fact that the Argentina attack throughout much of the contest was more than just Messi underscored the comments manager Alejandro Sabella made before the match, via Dominic Fifield of The Guardian:

Four years ago Messi was criticised for not contributing enough, and now people say we depend too greatly upon him. It’s not easy. Any team who has a player like Messi in their ranks – he’s the best player in the world – will greatly depend upon him, as a player. But there’s a group of players who support Messi, who make him stronger and make him feel well. I believe that the fact he’s done what he has here is down to the work the team puts in.

Belgium certainly threatened in the final few minutes and made the Argentina supporters a bit uncomfortable, but the victor's defense was simply too stout. There was even a moment in stoppage time for Messi on a breakaway where he was all on his own, but the superstar was turned away.

Now that Argentina is two victories away from hoisting the World Cup trophy, their health has to be taken into consideration. Angel Di Maria left the match Saturday, as Bleacher Report UK noted, and that could be a problem going forward without him as a potential goal-scorer.

Di Maria has been a critical component in Argentina’s crossing attack throughout the World Cup, and he is part of a solid combination with Messi. Argentina may need more individual brilliance from Messi or contributions from the likes of Higuain if they hope to win this tournament.

Max Bretos of ESPN pointed out that Argentina simply didn't look the same offensively after the injury:

Of course, not allowing a goal, like the squad did Saturday, would do the trick on the way to the World Cup title as well.

 

Netherlands Beats Costa Rica In Penalty Shootouts

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

The Cinderella story of the World Cup came to a grinding and heartbreaking halt Saturday at the hands of the orange-clad Netherlands squad. Netherlands survived a stiff defensive test from Costa Rica in penalty shootouts in one of the most dramatic matches of the entire World Cup.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas kept the underdog Costa Rica in the match throughout the first half and constantly turned away the Netherlands attack. Bleacher Report UK highlighted one of many formidable saves:

The game was scoreless deep into the second half, but Arjen Robben was doing his best to get Netherlands on the board, as Squawka Football pointed out:

Still, Navas continued to be a stone wall, but he got a little help from the post with only a few minutes remaining in regulation, as Bleacher Report UK noted:

That was the first of many golden opportunities for Netherlands down the stretch, but somehow, someway, they failed to find the back of the net in regulation and the game went to overtime scoreless. Costa Rica was clearly playing with their backs against the wall, but Robben and company failed to take advantage. 

ESPN Stats & Info noted that the extra time wasn’t exactly a promising development for Netherlands:

It was rather clear that Costa Rica was playing for penalty kicks throughout overtime (and much of the second half to be honest) even though they had a couple opportunities late. Netherlands put a scare into the Costa Rica defense when they hit the crossbar at 118 minutes, but the game went to penalty shootouts without a single goal.

That is where Netherlands ultimately prevailed. 

Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

Incredibly, Netherlands switched their goalkeepers heading into the shootout and went with Tim Krul instead of Jasper Cillessen. It paid the ultimate dividends when Krul saved two of the five shots, which was more than enough to carry his team to victory.

Netherlands will certainly need a few days off to catch their breath before the semifinals.

 

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