RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The world's best player goes up against perhaps the world's best goalkeeper. The highest-scoring lineup in the World Cup takes on the tournament's most surprising team.
There are two remaining quarterfinals to be played Saturday at the World Cup and both create intriguing matchups as Argentina faces Belgium and the Netherlands plays Costa Rica.
The winners will meet in the semifinals next week.
What to watch on Saturday:
ARGENTINA vs. BELGIUM
Lionel Messi has faced Thibaut Courtois plenty of times in club competitions, and the Belgium goalkeeper has a habit of getting the better of the four-time player of the year.
In fact, Courtois has kept Messi scoreless the last seven times his Atletico Madrid faced Barcelona. If he can do it again, Belgium will have every chance of reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1986 — when it was eliminated by Argentina.
Messi has scored four of Argentina's seven goals in the tournament so far and set up two of the others — including Angel Di Maria's extra-time winner against Switzerland in the second round.
Belgium is hoping a collective effort will be able to outshine one outstanding individual.
"I don't want to depend on a single player, I want to depend on many," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said. "That is one of our strengths."
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella also insists there are more players who can make the difference for his team, even though striker Gonzalo Higuain is scoreless in Brazil and Sergio Aguero is injured.
"Obviously he (Messi) is the best player in the world but there is teamwork," Sabella said. "It's a team that supports Messi, makes him stronger, makes him feel well. And, therefore, Messi performs as he's doing."
And while Argentina vs. Belgium is about much more than Messi vs. Courtois, the winner of that matchup will go a long way toward deciding which team reaches the last four.
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