Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi said his team played its best football in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in a 1-0 win over Belgium on July 5.
This was what Messi told The Borneo Post on July 7:
"Argentina superstar Lionel Messi said that his side had produced their best match of the World Cup in beating Belgium 1-0 in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
"And goalscorer Gonzalez Higuain said getting off the mark with the winning goal had been a 'beautiful' moment.
"'We produced a very complete match. We weren't able to create that many chances, but they didn't make that many clear chances either,' said Messi.
"Asked if it was Argentina's most accomplished display of the tournament, the Barcelona forward told reporters: 'I think it was.'
"Argentina have now won their first five matches at a World Cup for the first time, even though they laboured in the group phase and were criticised for lacklustre display in their 1-0 victory over Switzerland in the last 16.
"It is 24 years since Argentina last reached the semi-finals of a World Cup and Messi said the team took great pride in the feat.
"'This is amazing,' he said. We knew it was going to be difficult.
"'Argentina have gone a long time without doing this, and it was us who crossed the frontier.'
"Higuain's super volley in the eighth minute of the game was enough to get Argentina through and took the Napoli striker out of a World Cup drought with his first goal of the tournament.
"'Luckily it came in this match,' said Higuain. 'Strikers live for goals and it was a beatiful thing that it happened today.'
"Higuain was a substitute in Argentina's first group game against Bosnia-Hercegovina and then started every match, even though questions were asked about his lack of goals.
"'I was calm, I did my work and I waited for it to arrive,' he added.
"'I kept faith in my qualities and the coach and the staff were behind me. That is what matters to me. All strikers want to score. That is mj job.' Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella saluted Higuain's display, having shown the 26-year-old patience during his recovery from a late-season ankle injury.
"'He had a difficult end to the season with Napoli,' Sabella said."
Heard Messi made the game winning pass! That's my type of play/er. Win, loss, draw u make the right play to help your team be successful— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 1, 2014
ESPN FC's Pablo S. Torre dissected Messi's game in his July 6 article:
"To keep both eyes on Messi over the 90 minutes of a World Cup quarterfinal is to discover someone playing a different, more contradictory sport. One reason for this is speed: Messi, when he wishes to, not only moves faster and quicker than everyone else on the field but also slower and less. At 5-foot-7 and 148 pounds, he tends to pad around on defense like a bathrobed dad headed to the fridge to check on leftovers.
"Today, doing furious Belgian counterattacks, Messi regularly shuffled -- and ths is no exaggeration -- slower than he did walking off the bus.
"The nanosecond Messi decides to attack, though, the dynamic switches entirely. Everyone else seems to be standing in place.
"The most obvious instance came in the eighth minute. After receiving the ball in the midfield, Messi changed direction four times in the space of less than 10 feet, evaded two defenders, spun around and sent the ball forward to Angel Di Maria. The wingers' deflected pass nevertheless found Gonzalo Higuain, who rocketed the ball into the left corner of the net for the game's one and only goal.
"'Every move Messi makes is a sign of hope for us, whether he scores goals or not,' Albiceleste manager Alejandro Sabella would say afterward. 'Receiving the ball and never losing it, attracting two to three opponents? It is water in the desert for us.'"