Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Belgium's Axel Witsel, center, stretches next to teammates during a practice session at Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Friday, July 4, 2014. On Saturday, Belgium will face Argentina in their World Cup quarterfinals soccer match. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)
In ’86 World Cup it was Maradona; now Messi faces Belgium
First Published Jul 04 2014 07:34 pm • Last Updated Jul 04 2014 11:21 pm

Brasilia, Brazil • Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is old enough to remember Diego Maradona dumbfounding four defenders and a goalie to stop the nation’s incredible run at the 1986 World Cup in the semifinals. What Maradona was to Argentina then, Lionel Messi is now.

Wilmots called Maradona "the player that struck us down and gave us bad memories. Fortunately, that is well in the past now."

At a glance

Scheudle

Quarterfinals

Friday

Germany 1, France 0

Brazil 2, Colombia 1

Saturday

» Argentina vs. Belgium, 10 a.m., Ch.4

» Netherlands vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m., ESPN

Semifinals

Tuesday

» Brazil winner vs. Germany, 2 p.m.

Wednesday

» Netherlands-Costa Rica winner vs. Argentina-Belgium winner, 2 p.m.

Third place

Saturday, July 12

Semifinal losers, 2 p.m.

Championship

Sunday, July 13

» Semifinal winners, 1 p.m.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Messi wants to bring those memories back when Belgium plays Argentina in the quarterfinals on Saturday.

And Belgium knows he’s more than capable to score a similar goal to the one that knocked the team out in 1986, when Maradona took on four players, ran past them and rifled the ball past helpless goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff.

At the time, Belgium was already over the moon to have made it that far. This time, the team thinks it’s far from done, Wilmots said.

"You should only think of one thing: make the final. That Belgium didn’t use to have that frame of mind is not my problem," he said.

Belgium’s strong defense has been the key to its World Cup run so far, with Vincent Kompany, Daniel Van Buyten and Jan Vertonghen all among the team’s standout players.

Together, they should be able to deal with Messi, they said.

"If he gets past one player, he will have to get past a second player, because another will help out," Van Buyten said. "We will have to show our big heart."

Pfaff was the tournament’s standout goalie in 1986. Now Belgium has Thibaut Courtois, who has kept Messi scoreless the last seven times they faced each other in Spain.


story continues below
story continues below

Courtois has already had a spectacular season, winning the Spanish league title with Atletico Madrid and getting his team into the Champions League final against city rival Real Madrid.

The only goal he conceded in the group stage was a penalty, and he made a decisive save late in the second-round game against the United States.

Assessing the 22-year-old goalie, Wilmots said that "Thibaut has done extraordinary things, certainly for his age."

He is unbeaten for Belgium so far.

In all, it means that Belgium will have several ways of stopping Messi, who has four goals so far in the tournament. And the collective is often stronger than the individual, Wilmots said.

"I don’t want to depend on a single player, I want to depend on many. That is one of our strengths," he said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.