Argentina beats Belgium 1-0 to reach semis

Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, is challenged by Belgium's Axel Witsel, right, during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Argentina and Belgium at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, July 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Argentina's Lionel Messi, center, is challenged by Belgium's Axel Witsel, right, during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Argentina and Belgium at the Estadio Nacional in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, July 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Gonzalo Higuain’s first goal of this World Cup sent Argentina into the semifinals on Saturday with a 1-0 win over a disappointing Belgium.

Argentina, which hadn’t advanced past the World Cup quarterfinals since 1990, put in its best performance so far in the tournament, controlling the match after Higuain’s eighth minute goal.

The Napoli striker fired home Angel Di Maria’s deflected pass just inside the area, beating Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a low shot to the far corner of the net.

Higuain came close to making it 2-0 in the second half when his shot smashed into the crossbar.

Belgium lacked the creativity to find a way past Argentina’s defensive line, and created few clear chances apart from a pair of headers by Kevin Mirallas and Marouane Fellaini.

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