Belgium vs United States: Jurgen Klinsmann praises 'phenomenal' Tim Howard as US goalkeeper's heroics nearly sends US through to quarter-finals

Howard made 16 saves, the most of any World Cup goalkeeper since 1966, but was unable to prevent Romelu Lukaku swinging the match in Belgium's favour

United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann hailed Tim Howard's "phenomenal" performance as the Everton number one produced the greatest performance by a goalkeeper in a generation to defy Belgium until extra time.

Howard made 16 saves - the most by any keeper in a World Cup match since 1966, according to statistics - before two goals in extra time saw Belgium win 2-1 to secure a quarter-final place against Argentina.

Klinsmann said: "What Tim played was just phenomenal, outstanding - he kept us in that game for a long time. We are proud to have him with us.

"It was an absolutely amazing match tonight and you can give him the biggest compliment in the world."

The introduction of Romelu Lukaku - Howard's Everton team-mate last season - made the difference, with the striker creating the opening for Kevin de Bruyne's winner before scoring the second himself.

 

Teenager Julian Green gave the Americans hope and they had chances, but Belgium just held out.

Klinsmann added: "It's a bummer for us ending on the losing side after a game of 120 minutes that gave everything to the fans, a real drama, a thriller.

"We we had enough possession to equalise that game at the end, but a big compliment to Belgium and congratulations to them.

"I'm very proud of our team. Every player on the field made their country proud with this performance in this World Cup.

"All of the players just went beyond their capabilities and I told them they should take a lot of very positive stuff back home with them."

Read more: President Obama tries to inspire US
Klinnsman has built team spirit that overs can only imagine
Americans like football now? Who'd have thought

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots admitted it had been "scary" after Green's goal.

He said: "We had a lot of opportunities, and we dominated the game, and in the end it was well deserved even if it was scary with the US goal.

"Lukaku had been much criticised, and I told him, 'do not worry - the second round might be your day', and that's what happened.

"Tom Howard had a fantastic match, but we need to forget about this match and focus on Argentina.

"There shouldn't be any more worries from the media about us not playing football."

Lukaku himself was modest about his impact, saying: "I'm not the hero - it's the team that is. There are many players who have made a big difference since the start of this competition."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy