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Belgium

Early Argentina, Dutch survive

Five Aside
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 By Michael Cox

Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen epitomise Belgian school of defending

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots talks to the media after 1-1 draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina in their Euro 2016 qualifying match in Zenica on Monday.

Not all sports blend international and club competition as seamlessly as football, where it's become extremely common for players to be teammates, then opponents, within the same week. How do you spend Sunday, Monday and Tuesday working on understanding and cohesion with a teammate, before setting out to overpower them the following weekend?

This Saturday's contest between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, the weekend's opening Premier League game, is a perfect example. A match between two...

Belgium disappointed but not dejected

Having finally shown what they can really do, the quarterfinals turned out to be the end of the line for the Red Devils. All in all, there is much to be happy about for Belgian fans. Belgium showed in the group phase that they have what it takes to grind out a result. They don't give anything away at the back and have the players up front to decide a game with a flash of individual brilliance.

Strangely, though, having won Group H with maximum points they were still criticized, not least by the press...

Assessment: Belgium making progress

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop reveals his reasons for Belgium's goalless exit against Argentina.

Belgium had been picked by many as a team with an outside chance of lifting the World Cup trophy, but it was not to be, and Argentina eliminated them in a tight quarterfinal. Here is ESPNFC blogger Wim Van Walle's verdict on the brighter points of the campaign, as well as what went wrong.

One sentence: World Cup recap

Belgium's young team of course have reason to be disappointed but have done enough in Brazil to hold their heads up with pride.

Star Man

Although Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens, Divock...

Quarterfinals Day 2: Argentina strike early; Dutch break hex

Netherlands booked their place in the World Cup semifinals after defeating Costa Rica on penalties following a 0-0 draw.

Argentina reached its first World Cup semifinal since 1990 with its 1-0 win over Belgium in Brasília. The win secures Argentina's first World Cup semifinal appearance since 1990 (finished runner-up to Germany). The Albiceleste will play the Netherlands on Wednesday in São Paulo in its fourth World Cup semifinal.

The Netherlands reached its second consecutive World Cup semifinal after a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica, advancing after a 4-3 penalty shootout.

Here are five storylines coming...

 By Chris Wright

Argentina coach Sabella almost faints

Alejandro Sabella almost falls over after seeing Gonzalo Higuain's shot skim over the crossbar.

Alejandro Sabella may well have just guided Argentina to their first World Cup semifinal since 1990, but the man almost did himself a mischief over on the touchline midway through the game.

After watching Gonzalo Higuain burst through the Belgian defence only to send a shot grazing over the crossbar, Sabella appeared to come as close as physically possible to fainting without actually blacking out and waking up on his back, as shown in the video above.

Top-notch stuff.

Indeed, "Smooth Criminal"-era...