Sabella braces Argentina for Belgium threat

  • AFP
  • Updated: Jul 08, 2014 16:59 IST

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has advised his players to beware the manifold strengths of a "powerful" Belgium team when the two sides clash in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.Heavily dependent on star man Lionel Messi, Argentina have laboured in Brazil so far, but victory over Marc Wilmot's Belgium in Brasilia will see them reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1990.

Belgium cannot match Argentina's World Cup pedigree, having made the last four only once in 1986, when they lost to Argentina but they boast a squad packed with famous names from the Premier League and La Liga."Belgium have a very good team," Sabella told his pre-match media conference at the Mane Garrincha National Stadium on Friday.

"They have a sort of 'golden generation', as occasionally happens. I remember the World Cup in 1982, when they also had a golden generation and they beat Argentina 1-0 in the group phase."Now, they have a lot of players who play in the English and Spanish leagues. They're a powerful team. We'll have to be careful when we don't have the ball and try to make things happen when we do.They're a team made up of great individuals who work very well as a team."

Sabella emphasised the strength of a defence that has conceded only two goals in the tournament to date."They have one of the best goalkeepers in the world," he said of Thibaut Courtois."The right-back (Toby Alderweireld) plays for Atletico Madrid, one centre-back plays for Manchester City (Vincent Kompany), one for Bayern Munich (Daniel Van Buyten), and the left-back plays for Tottenham Hotspur (Jan Vertonghen). I don't need to say anymore."

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