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Jul 6, 2014

After the goal rush, negativity marred quarter-finals

BRASILIA (Reuters) – After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarter-finals were predictably marked by caution and even aggression as hosts Brazil pushed soccer’s laws to the limit in dispatching Colombia.

Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998 but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-After the goal rush, negativity marred quarter-finals

BRASILIA, July 6 (Reuters) – After the attack-minded tactics and goal glut of the group stages, the World Cup quarter-finals were predictably marked by caution and even aggression as hosts Brazil pushed soccer’s laws to the limit in dispatching Colombia.

Only five goals were scored across the four games, one a penalty and one a direct free kick, and the average per match at the finals has crept down to 2.6, still the highest since 2.7 in France 1998 but far short of the record of 5.4 in Switzerland in 1954.

Jul 6, 2014

Di Maria loss would be hefty blow for Argentina

BRASILIA (Reuters) – If a scan on Sunday confirms Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria is out of the World Cup it would be a significant blow to the South Americans’ hopes of winning the tournament for the third time.

Di Maria had to be replaced by Enzo Perez after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-0 quarter-final victory over Belgium, which set up a last-four clash against the Netherlands, when he damaged a muscle in his right thigh shooting on goal.

Jul 6, 2014

Soccer-Di Maria loss would be hefty blow for Argentina

BRASILIA, July 6 (Reuters) – If a scan on Sunday confirms Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria is out of the World Cup it would be a significant blow to the South Americans’ hopes of winning the tournament for the third time.

Di Maria had to be replaced by Enzo Perez after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-0 quarter-final victory over Belgium, which set up a last-four clash against the Netherlands, when he damaged a muscle in his right thigh shooting on goal.

Jul 5, 2014

Higuain fires Argentina past Belgium into semis

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Gonzalo Higuain’s superb early strike secured a nervy 1-0 win for Argentina against Belgium and sent the South Americans through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in 24 years on Saturday.

Higuain buried a shot into the corner of the net in the eighth minute at the national stadium to set up a semi-final clash against 2010 runners-up the Netherlands or surprise package Costa Rica, who play later on Saturday.

Jul 5, 2014

Soccer-Higuain fires Argentina past Belgium into semis

BRASILIA, July 5 (Reuters) – Gonzalo Higuain’s superb early strike secured a nervy 1-0 win for Argentina against Belgium and sent the South Americans through to the last four of the World Cup for the first time in 24 years on Saturday.

Higuain buried a shot into the corner of the net in the eighth minute at the national stadium to set up a semi-final clash against 2010 runners-up the Netherlands or surprise package Costa Rica, who play later on Saturday.

Jul 4, 2014

Wilmots wants more from Hazard in Argentina clash

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has taken Eden Hazard to one side to discuss how to get the best from the gifted but under-performing midfielder for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

The 23-year-old Chelsea player undoubtedly has the talent but has yet to set the World Cup finals in Brazil alight as Belgium eased through Group H before dispatching the United States in a tight last-16 game.

Jul 4, 2014

Soccer-Wilmots wants more from Hazard in Argentina clash

BRASILIA, July 4 (Reuters) – Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has taken Eden Hazard to one side to discuss how to get the best from the gifted but under-performing midfielder for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Argentina.

The 23-year-old Chelsea player undoubtedly has the talent but has yet to set the World Cup finals in Brazil alight as Belgium eased through Group H before dispatching the United States in a tight last-16 game.

Jul 4, 2014

Higuain yet to fire in Argentina’s ‘Fab Four’

BRASILIA (Reuters) – When guitarist George Harrison briefly walked out on The Beatles in early 1969, John Lennon reportedly threatened to replace him with Eric Clapton.

Sadly for Argentina, coach Alejandro Sabella does not have the luxury of inviting a talented outsider into his “Fab Four” to replace misfiring striker Gonzalo Higuain for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Belgium.

Jul 4, 2014

Soccer-Higuain yet to fire in Argentina’s ‘Fab Four’

BRASILIA, July 4 (Reuters) – When guitarist George Harrison briefly walked out on The Beatles in early 1969, John Lennon reportedly threatened to replace him with Eric Clapton.

Sadly for Argentina, coach Alejandro Sabella does not have the luxury of inviting a talented outsider into his “Fab Four” to replace misfiring striker Gonzalo Higuain for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against Belgium.