Belgium vs United States World Cup 2014 preview: Jurgen Klinsmann wants the feel-good factor to continue

Draw with Portugal drew the highest ever audience in the USA

The growing popularity of football in the United States has provided the background noise to the national team’s impressive run at this World Cup and USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann wants his players to maintain the feel-good momentum in their last-16 showdown with Belgium.

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USA’s Group G draw with Portugal drew the highest ever audience in the States for a football match but Klinsmann does not want his team’s impact to end there as he urged them to seize the moment against Belgium in Salvador.

“You get judged on how good the outcome is in the World Cup,” he said at his pre-match press conference at the Arena Fonte Nova. “This is huge. We all know – players and coaches – it is only coming along every four years. We don’t want to wait four years to get into the quarter-final. We want to get there now.”

USA have captured the imagination of large swathes of the American public after coming through a tough-looking Group G by beating Ghana, drawing with Portugal and losing narrowly to Germany. If they defeat Belgium, they can look forward to a quarter-final against Argentina or Switzerland.

Klinsmann described his team as the “locomotive” for the soccer boom as he reflected on the sport’s “unstoppable” growth. “It means a lot to us the energy that comes from the United States with the thousands and thousands of fans here in Brazil. You see where game is going in the US, you cannot stop it any more – it is breaking through, the league is doing a great job, it is almost 20 years old, there are millions of kids are playing soccer throughout the country.

“It is growing on every level and locomotive of this development is the national team so we want to inspire them and give them belief.”