sport

Higuain books Argentina semi

Argentina are through to the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup after beating Belgium 1-0 at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia on Saturday.

Gonzalo Higuain's eighth-minute strike proved to be the telling contribution as Argentina made it through to the World Cup semi-final stage for the first time since 1990.

They will face the winner of the later game between the Netherlands and Costa Rica after becoming the third side to book a semi-final date, with Germany and Brazil progressing on Friday.

The lone caveat for Argentina was an injury to influential midfielder Angel Di Maria that forced him off in the first half and may yet deny him a chance to play in the semi-final.

All five of Argentina's victories in the competition have come via a one-goal margin and so often it has been Lionel Messi that has provided the telling contribution.

Indeed, the Barcelona playmaker was influential throughout for Alejandro Sabella's side, but it was an instinctive strike from Napoli striker Higuain that decided the tie.

Messi drifted into space to pick out Di Maria and his ball took a fortuitous deflection into the path of Higuain, who allowed time for a bounce before firing to a crisp volley beyond a helpless Thibaut Courtois in the Belgian goal.

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