World Cup 2014: Belgium vs USA – strengths, weaknesses and key men
A look ahead to the Last 16 encounter between these sides
Friday 27 June 2014
It is far too late to call the Belgians “dark horses” but it is unavoidable that they have a squad full of talented, established players, providing quality and depth in defence and midfield.
Coach Marc Wilmots has not quite found the right balance in his first XI. They have beaten three beatable sides by only one goal each time and are yet to play with much fluency or fluidity.
Amongst plenty of good players, Eden Hazard is the one world-class forward. The defeat of Russia was almost an act of will, as Hazard took the game by the throat and made the winning goal.
More than perhaps any other team left, they play with the shape, commitment and application of a good side. Coach Jürgen Klinsmann has built a real unit which can grind past more talented teams.
There are quite simply not enough goals in the team. Jozy Altidore was injured in the first game, and he may not be fit in time to share the striking burden with Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey is the star player of the Stars and Stripes side, their best No 9 and best No 10 too, and the only man who is likely to drag them through the real tests coming in the knock-out rounds.
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