Jozy Altidore was available to play against Belgium, but coach Jürgen Klinsmann decided to start Clint Dempsey as the lone striker
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USA Lineup: The US announced the lineup as a 4-3-3, a midfielder-heavy lineup with Clint Dempsey (captain) being the only true forward. Joining Dempsey up front will be Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya, with Michael Bradley, with Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Jones. DaMarcus Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, and Fabian Johnson will start in back ahead of goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Belgium Lineup: Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany (captain), Daniel van Buyten, Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Kevin de Bruyne, Dries Mertens, Divock Origi, Eden Hazard.
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American soccer is relishing its cicada-like moment. The signs of soccer jingoism are in bloom everywhere, from Teddy Goalsevelt’s campy appearance in Brazil and the superfan soccer group American Outlaws’ sudden insurgency at a bar near you to the rather gleeful sorority chant, “I believe that we will win!” that has been co-opted by U.S. soccer fans.
The U.S. National Team defied the odds to advance through the “Group of Death” and into the round of 16 at the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Never mind the 1-0 loss Thursday to Group G champ Germany, the No. 2 ranked team in the world heading into Brazil. The Americans showed their mettle by outlasting a cagy Ghana squad and then playing Portugal to a draw over the last two weeks.
“This is a huge, huge step and now we move on into the round of 16,” U.S. Coach Jürgen Klinsmann proclaimed on TV after losing to his German brethren in a respectable showing by the Americans.
That sets up a showdown between the U.S. and Belgium (3-0 in Group H) in the knockout round Tuesday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN-TV) at Arena Fonte Nova in the Brazilian coastal city of Salvador.Ranked 12th in the world, Belgium beat Algeria 2-1, Russia 1-0 and then Korea 1-0 (despite playing the final 45-plus minutes with just 10 men after Belgium midfielder Steven Defour was red carded). Defour, a backup, will also miss the game Tuesday against the U.S.
Despite its tough draw in Group G and now in the knockout round, there are expectations for the U.S. National Team to fulfill. The U.S. also reached the round of 16 in 2010 and went to the quarterfinals in 2002. Even if fans only talk about American soccer for one month every four years, the investment in building a brand that can challenge the world has been a work in progress since the U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup.
Now it comes down to the talent on the field. And the key figure for the U.S. squad also happens to be one of the most experienced Americans in international play. This is 35-year-old goalkeeper Tim Howard’s third – and most impactful – World Cup.
“In the World Cup, if you want to go far you need a goalkeeper,” Klinsmann said. “And we’ve got one.”
What the U.S. also has is seasoning and resolve layered into this lineup through years of qualifying bouts against what has turned out to be formidable CONCACAF rivals. Mexico and Costa Rica also advanced to the knockout round, which shows the U.S. belongs. (Klaas-Jan Huntelaar puts Netherlands into quarterfinals after 2-1 over Mexico. Costa Rica advances 1-1 (5-3) in shootout with Greece)
Then there’s the estimated 9,000 miles travelled within Brazil that the U.S. has endured over the last few weeks, along with the extreme conditions, from the sapping humidity of the Amazon to the deluge in Recife. Not to mention a gruesome bloody nose suffered by Clint Dempsey, another broken nose (Jermaine Jones) and the painful-to-watch pulled hamstring by gifted scorer Jozy Altidore. Good news: All three should play versus Belgium. That gives the U.S. a fighting chance.
“Nobody said we had a chance,” Klinsmann said with not the least bit of irony since he made a public statement to the same effect on the eve of the World Cup. “We took that chance. And now we move on.”
Belgium vs Unites States GamecastBelgium: 12th World Cup appearance, first since 2002 World Cup, which was Belgium’s last major tournament.
United States: The U.S. is at its seventh straight World Cup.
32′ Substitution, USA. DeAndre Yedlin replaces Fabian Johnson because of an injury.
42′ Vincent Kompany (Belgium) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
First Half ends, Belgium 0, USA 0.
60′ Substitution, Belgium. Kevin Mirallas replaces Dries Mertens.
72′ Substitution, USA. Chris Wondolowski replaces Graham Zusi.
Second Half ends, Belgium 0, USA 0.
90′ Substitution, Belgium. Romelu Lukaku replaces Divock Origi.
93′ Goal! Belgium 1, USA 0. Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.
105′ Goal! Belgium 2, USA 0. Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne with a through ball following a fast break.
105′ Substitution, USA. Julian Green replaces Alejandro Bedoya.
107′ Goal! Belgium 2, USA 1. Julian Green (USA) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Michael Bradley with a through ball.
111′ Substitution, Belgium. Nacer Chadli replaces Eden Hazard.
Second Half Extra Time ends, Belgium 2, USA 1.