Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup: Round of 16

The game’s best player was Tim Howard, who made a staggering 15 saves – the most in a World Cup game since 1966.

The Americans lost right back Fabian Johnson – arguably the best U.S. player over the past month – in the 30th minute, when he pulled his hamstring and immediately signaled to the bench.

Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne scored three minutes into the 30-minute overtime on a goal set up by substitute Romelu Lukaku. Twelve minutes later, it was 2-0 on a goal by Lukaku, Howard's teammate at Everton, set up by De Bruyne.

Klinsmann then inserted 19-year-old Julian Green, who scored off a great ball from Michael Bradley, to cut it to 2-1 and sets up a furious final 13 minutes.

The best chance came in the dying moments of regulation, when substitute Chris Wondolowski watched a header from Jermaine Jones drop at his feet, unmarked, just yards from the Belgian goal. Wondo chipped it well over the bar.

Another chance came on a crafty free kick play that got Clint Dempsey alone in the box, but 22-year-old Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – considered one of the rising stars of world soccer – charged out and blocked it.

It means the Red Devils advance to face Argentina in the quarterfinals, Saturday in Brasilia. And it means the magical U.S. run that so captivated the nation is over.

The USA is now 1-5-0 all-time vs. Belgium. The most recent meeting between the U.S. and Belgium was a 4-2 loss on May 29, 2013, in Cleveland, Ohio.

Tim's high school yearbook. Belgium is a nation of 11 million people.

More information:
» SBNation: Potential USMNT players to watch for the 2018 World Cup
» The Guardian: Landon Donovan criticizes Jürgen Klinsmann’s tactics

No comments: