Gonzalo Higuain scored his first goal of the FIFA World Cup as Argentina beat Belgium 1-0 at Estadio Nacional to reach the semi-finals.
Much has been made of Argentina’s reliance on mercurial captain Lionel Messi during the tournament in Brazil, but Alejandro Sabella’s side proved they are no one-man team with an impressive display in Brasilia on Saturday.
Messi once again led by example as he equalled Diego Maradona’s tally of 91 caps for his country, but it was Higuain who proved to be Argentina’s match-winner with a fine early strike.
The Real Madrid striker also hit the crossbar in the second half as the South American nation produced arguably their best performance of the competition to secure a last-four spot against either the Netherlands or Costa Rica.
Argentina beat Belgium in the semi-finals in 1986 in the last meeting between the two sides, then went on to be crowned world champions, and on this evidence they are capable of repeating that feat for the first time since those finals in Mexico.
Belgium had been billed as dark horses to go all the way, but they were not at the races in the capital as they bowed out with a whimper.