Argentina playing Belgium denies Americans more World Cup drama

Lionel Messi vs. Tim Howard: What U.S. fans will miss by being deprived of the Argentina matchup

Oh, what a day it would have been for U.S. soccer on this festive weekend commemorating the nation's independence.

Had Team USA converted its glorious scoring chance late in regulation or tied the score in overtime to ultimately triumph on penalty kicks, Argentina would have been humming "The Star-Spangled Banner" in today's pregame instead of hearing the Belgium anthem.

Here is what will be missed:

Lionel Messi vs. Tim Howard

This alone is reason to lament the outcome, denying Americans a chance to see the spellbinding Argentine forward trying to outfox the secretary of defense. Three of Messi's four goals have been discharged from outside the box.

Imagine how he would relish the challenge to get one past the keeper, and the white-hot Howard equally embracing the mission to squelch Messi.

More of U.S. forward Julian Green

By the time we got to know him -- in fact, just learning who he is -- Green nailed the goal in added time that defibrillated his team. U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann would have been willing to insert him much earlier against Argentina.

Four years is too long a wait to renew acquaintances.

Guaranteed late-game histrionics

Argentina has demonstrated a flair for the dramatic. The margin in all four wins is one goal, and two of the four pivotal scores occurred in overtime or stoppage time.

The U.S., we know about. The slogan for the TNT network is "We Know Drama." The soccer team's could be, "We Know Drame, Too."

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