Gonzalo Higiaun scored the only goal of the 2014 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and Belgium inside the first 10 minutes, and the Albiceleste will be going to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1990.
The much-maligned striker scored a stunning goal after just eight minutes and played his best match of the tournament, keeping the Belgian defence on its heels.
Soccer Gods has the Vine of the splendid goal:
Via WhoScored.com, Higuain ended quite the dry spell playing in the white and blue of Argentina:
Gonzalo Higuaín: Has scored his first goal for Argentina since August 2013 (vs Italy) #arg— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 5, 2014
Bleacher Report UK was very happy to see Argentina were finally able to show the world their team is about more than just Lionel Messi and company:
Belgian football expert John Chapman was impressed with what he saw from Higuain, who finally played up to his potential:
Brilliant from Higuain. He has woken up. I would think Wilmots will throw on Mertens and Lukaku on the hour.— John Chapman (@BelgoFoot) July 5, 2014
Higuain came close to scoring a second goal after half-time, fending off a number of Belgian defenders and nut-megging captain Vincent Kompany only to just miss the target.
The Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward thought it was a typical striker's run:
Higuain beats four Belgian defenders, nut-megging one, then belts it over. A striker's agony.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) July 5, 2014
Via Squawka, the miss had quite the effect on Higuain's manager, Alejandro Sabella:
When he left the pitch with 10 minutes left to play, ESPN FC's Adrian Melville summed up his excellent performance nicely:
Messi didn't look like his usual dominant self on Saturday, but much of his hard work on the pitch was done in service of the team. The pint-sized forward worked his socks off and was a constant nuisance for Belgium's powerful midfield triangle.
Before the match, it was clear how revered he still is, via Paddy Power:
Everybody loves Messi... pic.twitter.com/KLfVoci0AB— Paddy Power (@paddypower) July 5, 2014
The Independent's Sam Wallace loved how Messi created space for himself before picking out open teammates:
The way Messi turned away from those challenges in midfield to pick his pass out to the right ...— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceIndy) July 5, 2014
Radio host Bob Sturm was equally impressed:
Are there still people that aren't sure if Messi is the best on the planet?— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) July 5, 2014
The Boston Globe's Billy Baker couldn't help but notice Messi's odd manner of walking around the pitch:
I love how Messi spends 99% of the game quietly walking around the field like a hunchbacked assassin.— Billy Baker (@billy_baker) July 5, 2014
Goal's Ed Malyon was in awe of Messi's performance, even if he didn't find the target against Belgium:
Would put this up there as one of Messi's best defensive performances in a few years. So different from even two or three games ago— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) July 5, 2014
Argentina played their best match yet against Belgium, and while the Red Devils had a handful of chances to tie things up in the second half, the defence looked better than they had up until this point.
Messi finally got some assistance from his attacking teammates, allowing him to spend more time out wide, negating Belgium's strong presence in the centre of the pitch.
The match against the Red Devils took some energy, but overall, Argentina emerged relatively unscathed, apart from the injury to Angel di Maria, per Yahoo Soccer. Enzo Perez did a solid job replacing him, so even if the injury turns out to be a serious one, the Albiceleste shouldn't panic.
Argentina will play the winner of the match between the Netherlands and Costa Rica in the semi-final, and on the back of their best performance yet, they'll be favourites going into that match regardless of who their opponents are.