Belgium v United States: World Cup 2014 match preview
We look ahead to the last match of the round of 16, with the much-fancied Belgium taking on surprise package USA
Monday 30 June 2014
As the round of 16 matches near to completion, the final game promises to be an intriguing encounter between Belgium and the USA.
The Belgians have not been the most entertaining side in this year’s World Cup but managed to qualify from their group with a 100 per cent record, proving why they were labelled as ‘dark horses’ before the tournament. The Americans were not expected to make it through with Germany and Portugal in the same group but managed to secure a late victory over Ghana in their group opener and a thrilling 2-2 with Portugal effectively sealed their place in the knockout round.
Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has been forced to deal with a number of injuries in his defence, with captain Vincent Kompany and Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen both doubts. Another centre-back, Laurent Ciman, and right-back Anthony Vanden Borre are also missing due to injury, while midfielder Steven Defour is suspended after being shown a red card against South Korea last week.
Manager Jürgen Klinsmann was considered to be ‘un-American’ by the US press after claiming it would be unrealistic for the United States to win the World Cup. However, he has now told the players and their families to change their flights back home for the date after the World Cup final, showing the belief he has in his side.
Klinsmann does, however, faces an anxious wait to see if first-choice striker Jozy Altidore will be fit for the game against a technically-gifted Belgium side. Former Fulham hitman Clint Dempsey is expected to start up front as a result, but otherwise the German manager has no other injury concerns.
KICK-OFF: Tuesday, 9pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
USA 2 (Cameron, Dempsey) Belgium 4 (Mirallas, Benteke 2, Fellaini), International Friendly, May 2013
Belgium 1 (Lombaerts) USA 0, International Friendly, September 2011
USA 3 (McGhee, Florie, Patenaude) Belgium 0, World Cup, July 1930
Last time Belgium reached the quarter-finals was in 1986, 17 of the current Belgian players were not born back then.
The Red Devils made it through with maximum points for the first time ever in the World Cup.
The Belgians have scored their last six World Cup goals in the last 20 minutes.
The Red Devils’ goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has yet to taste international defeat.
USA have reached the quarter finals three times in their last four World Cup participations.
If former Fulham striker Clint Dempsey scores he will tie Landon Donovan as the all-time American World Cup scorer with five goals.
Belgium to win: 21/20
USA to win: 16/5
TV: Live on BBC One at 9pm
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