World Cup

Match Report: United States 1-2 Belgium

After defending bravely for a full 90 minutes, two extra times goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku proved too steep a cliff to climb and, though they gave it their best effort in the dying minutes, the US was knocked out of the World Cup by Belgium, losing 2-1.

Tim Howard turned in a performance to rival, and even surpass, Guillermo Ochoa’s against Brazil as the US were under pressure from the opening whistle. And while Howard, and his defense, kept the Belgians at bay throughout regulation, the fresh legs of Lukaku proved too much in extra time.

First, he showed his physicality, bumping off Matt Besler to drive the ball deep, where De Bruyne still had plenty of work to do before finishing inside of the far post and he capped off his match-winning cameo with a driving run and first time finish past Howard at the near post.

With his first World Cup touch, US substitute Julian Green pulled one back for the Americans with a sweetly struck volley off of Michael Bradley’s perfect delivery, but there would be no second. There were chances though, specifically for Clint Dempsey on a well executed set piece, but the equalizer eluded the Americans who exit in the round of 16 for the second World Cup running.

First Half

Jurgen Klinsmann made only one change to the side that fell 1-0 to Germany, bringing Geoff Cameron back into the side. It was Kyle Beckerman who made way, with Klinsmann adding Cameron’s size and athleticism into the midfield.

From kickoff, Belgium made their motives clear with Divock Origi getting in behind Omar Gonzalez, forcing Howard into the first of his 16 saves.

Belgium grew comfortable with their control of the match, knocking the ball around the attacking half, but the US defense maintained composure, keeping the play in front of them.

Going forward there was little to speak of for the Americans. Bradley did his best to dictate play, but with Jermaine Jones less involved than against Germany and the Belgians pressing high up the pitch on Dempsey, their were few outlets when the US played out of the back.

DaMarcus Beasley saved the day for the US after 26 minutes when he reacted best to slide in behind Howard, clearing the ball before Origi could arrive to apply the final touch.

On the rare occasions when they were able to possess the ball, the US looked to attack the flanks with Beasley and Fabian Johnson. But in the 32nd minute, Johnson, much like Jozy Altidore against Ghana, stretched too far for a ball played up the wing and came up holding his hamstring. On came DeAndre Yedlin who, unlike prior matches in this tournament, was asked to hold down the right side of the pitch as a defender.

As dangerous as Belgium looked on the attack, especially through De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, the US held their ground, forcing the Belgians into speculative efforts from range as the first half wore down.

Second Half

Intent on finding an opener, the Belgians came straight back at the US, with Dries Mertens flicked header forcing Howard to tip over the bar in the 49th minute before Origi’s similar effort bounced off the top of the bar just 5 minutes later.

Suddenly, the Belgians were coming in waves. First Howard got down well to beat away Jan Vertonghen’s left-footed drive, before Mertens found space at the near post where his back heel flick just flew wide of the near post. Minutes later, the ball fell to Origi streaking in from the right, but with the whole goal to aim for, his effort flew straight into Howard’s body.

In the 76th minute, Howard was again called on when, racing in on goal, Kevin Mirallas got in behind the US defense. But Howard’s outstretched left leg got just enough of a touch to keep his Everton teammate off the score sheet.

Minutes later, Hazard had the next look, this time off a Marouane Fellaini layoff. Taking aim at the back post, Howard did well to beat the shot away at full stretch.

But with seconds left in regulation, the US nearly found the most unlikely winner. Softly lofting the ball into the box, Cameron found Jones’ head. The flick fell at the feet of substitute Chris Wondolowski who, with only Thibaut Courtois to beat, ballooned the chance over the cross bar, though the assistant referee saved the US striker’s blushed somewhat by incorrectly flagging the play offsides.

Extra Time

Marc Wilmots made his second substitution at the start of extra time, introducing the physical presence Lukaku, and it proved to be the change the Belgians needed.

Less than 3 minutes into the added period, Lukaku ran onto a ball near the half line. Brushing Besler to the turf with his driving run, Lukaku stormed into the box, looking to cut the ball back into the path of De Bruyne. Omar Gonzalez managed to get a toe to the cutback, but De Bruyne pounced onto the loose ball, turning sharply and lashing the ball inside of the far post, sending the Belgians into the lead.

Lukaku again caused trouble in the 97th minute, forcing Howard to react quickly at his near post, but he saved his best for the end of the first period of extra time. Scything through the tired US defense, Lukaku latched onto a through ball from De Bruyne, smashing it first time inside of Howard’s near post, sending Belgium into a seemingly insurmountable two goal lead.

But, as they have done throughout this tournament, the US fought back, and this time it was Green who provided the magic. Holding off Toby Alderweireld with his run, Green swung his leg at Bradley’s floated delivery. He did not get all of the side volley, but it was enough to send it past Courtois, whose fingertips were unable to keep the effort out.

Suddenly it was game on for the US, but try as they might, the goal would not come. In the dying moments, a well-executed free kick from the training ground sent Dempsey in alone on Courtois, but the Belgian keeper flew smartly off his line to deny the US captain and condemn the US to defeat.

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Belgium
Date: July 1, 2014
Competition: 2014 FIFA World Cup – Round of 16
Venue: Estadio Fonte Nova; Salvador, Brazil
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
Attendance: 51,227
Weather: 79 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary
BEL – Kevin De Bruyne 93rd minute
BEL – Romelu Lukaku (Kevin De Bruyne) 105
USA – Julian Green (Michael Bradley) 107

USA: 1-Tim Howard; 23-Fabian Johnson (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 32), 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 7-DaMarcus Beasley; 20-Geoff Cameron, 4- Michael Bradley, 13-Jermaine Jones; 11-Alejandro Bedoya (16-Julian Green,105+2), 8-Clint Dempsey (capt.), 19- Graham Zusi (18-Chris Wondolowski, 72)
Subs Not Used: 6-John Brooks, 10-Mix Diskerud, 12-Brad Guzan, 14-Brad Davis, 15-Kyle Beckerman, 17-Jozy Altidore, 21-Timmy Chandler, 22-Nick Rimando, 23-Aron Johannsson
Head Coach:
Jurgen Klinsmann

BEL: 1-Thibaut Courtois; 2-Toby Alderweireld, 4-Vincent Kompany (capt.),  5-Jan Vertonghen, 15-Daniel Van Buyten; 6-Axel Witsel, 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 8-Marouane Fellaini, 10-Eden Hazard (22-Nacer Chadli, 111), 14-Dries Mertens (11-Kevin Mirallas, 60); 17-Divock Origi (9-Romelu Lukaku, 91)
Subs not used: 3-Thomas Vermaelen, 12-Simon Mignolet, 13-Sammy Bossut, 18-Nicolas Lombaerts,19-Mousa Dembele, 20-Adnan Januzaj, 23-Laurent Ciman
Not Available:
16-Steven Defour (red card), 21-Anthony Vanden Borre (injury)
Head Coach:
Marc Wilmots

Stats Summary: USA / BEL
Shots: 15 / 38
Shots on Goal: 9 / 27
Saves: 16 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 19
Fouls: 11 / 27
Offside: 0 / 2

Misconduct Summary
USA – Geoff Cameron (caution) 18th minute
BEL – Vincent Kompany (caution) 42

Referee: Djamel Haimoudi (ALG)
Assistant Referee 1: Redouane Achik (MAR)
Assistant Referee 2: Abdelhak Etchiali (ALG)
Fourth Official: Norbert Hauata (TAH)


  1. The goal would have stood. GO TO HELL WONDOLOWSKI!

  2. I feel bad for wondo more than I feel angry at him for missing. The whole narrative of his career was leading up to that exact moment and that exact kind of play and he blew it and he will never again get a chance to redeem himself

    • Smoovinho says:

      He shouldn’t have gotten the chance because he shouldn’t have been on the team at all. All that he’s ever done in his international career is have some fun in the Gold Cup lighting up Belize. You know who would’ve finished that? Landon Donovan. Aron Johannsson. Jozy Altidore. But Landon got cut, Johannsson didn’t get any PT after Ghana, and Jozy was hurt. My only complaint with Jurgen was the Wondolowski inclusion. And it bit us in the end.

    • Agreed, Kyle. All strikers miss chances, they’re not robots. It’s just a shame that Wondo will be remembered more for that miss than anything else that he’s done in his career.

  3. Great One says:

    Brutal brutal miss for Wondo. It’s a shame bc I like him, but he’s just out of his league. That miss really was representative of that. Our bench was so weak, thst is where I think some of klinnsmans inclusions hurt us. Although yedlin played out of his mind well.
    In the end having Wondo and Davis inparticular instead of Donovan, Boyd or Johnson is what may have cost the US.
    Our wing play was suspect the whole tournament, and when Jozy went down we were left with no offense barring a Dempsey wonder play.

  4. Eli, what did I tell you? Exactly what happened: Lukaku woke up and Belgium had a lot more quality than us! I had a chat with Lukaku (in Dutch) when he was here for the All-Star game with Chelsea and I have a pretty good idea what makes him tick… I actually hope they will beat Argentina; I actually think they will be able to since Argentina has too many weaknesses.
    Great atmosphere at Fado yesterday. Was packed and people were turned away due to fire-code regulations! American Outlaws’ local chapter membership went from 30 last year to more than 2,000! Great to see so much enthusiasm in this sport!

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    US was outplayed and wouldn’t have been in the game if it wasn’t for Howard. Even if Wondo had scored, they still would have lost to Argentina on Saturday.
    I thought the biggest problem was that they looked great in the final 15 minutes. They showed they could do that. But what happened to the first 105 minutes? Why couldn’t they have shown the same intensity throughout the game?

    • exactly my thoughts!

    • Because Belgium stopped pressing them. They were content to play defense. Make no mistake the US was afforded the chance. We displayed over and over and over again we do not yet have the ability to control possession and any time we did it is because they other team changed tactics. Period.

  6. OneManWolfpack says:

    Belgium decided to finally play at something resembling their actual level. Through the groups Belgium was just skating by and doing what was necessary. They showed their true skill yesterday and I think thy have a shot against Argentina.
    With that said, the US showed a some real heart and damn near pulled off a miracle. It was a good run, not a great one, but we are in good hands and have some seriously good talent for the future. I’m beyond excited for Russia 2018 (and multiple other tournaments leading up to that: Gold Cup, Copa America, qualifying, hopefully Confederations Cup)… and HOPEFULLY the greedy bastards at FIFA do what is right and give the 2022 Cup to the US. Money talks and I can’t imagine how huge the World Cup would be here now.
    And while I am pissed at Wondo, because literally he was subbed on for that exact moment, but what can you do?! He’s human, it happens. Plus I’m used to it… I’m a Union fan. But damn, wouldn’t have Kilnsmann looked like a HERO if he woulda potted that and we stole that game.

    • To be honest if Ian Darke used the words guts and courage once more is was going to implode. They are ploy words for not very good, I am tired if being referred to as a team with heart. And in wonodolowskis defense Courtoise is 6’9 and closed the space on Chris unbelievably fast. The gol that hurt us was Dempsey missing on the set play then again when he was perfectly fed ball by yedlin on the 12.

  7. I would like to say thank you to Tim Howard for preserving our dignity the other day cause were it not for him that could have been 5-0- which would have displayed true difference in quality between the two teams. Belgium wins that game 7 times out of ten. We win one time out of ten and draw 2. They were way better than us and God for bide Argentina would have destroyed us. At least the belgiums will make a game of it. We are not ready for the fifth game yet nor is Mexico and frankly I am stunned The Ticos are.

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