FIFA 2014 Round of 16 Predictions: Match #56 Belgium vs. United States

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | June 27, 2014 11:23 AM EST

Final Score

Belgium 2 United States 1 (120')

REUTERS/Tony Gentile
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann claps after their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match with Germany at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 26, 2014.

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Overview

Match number 56 is the eighth match of the knock-out stages.  Belgium won all 3 matches in the group stage to collect 9 points to finish on top of Group H. United States, on the other hand, won 1, drew 1 and lost 1 to collect 4 points to finish second in Group G.

Teams

Belgium: Experts had high expectations from Belgium when it came to the World Cup. Belgium, on the other hand, has disappointed many with its performance. It sounds rather contradictory since Belgium was one of the 4 out of 16 qualified teams to the "Round of 16" that won all 3 group matches. The number of wins, however, does not tell the entire story all the time. Belgium was far behind from its own potential. It was in a group that probably had the most underperformed teams in this World Cup. None of the other 3 teams, including Algeria which qualified for the next round, played extraordinary football. Yet, Belgium managed to score only 1 goal more than its opposition to secure victory in every match in group stages. Belgium has to perform much better than what it did in group stages as it will face tougher teams. United States, as a team, has played significantly better football in any team in Group H.

United States: It must be Jürgen Klinsmann's extraordinary leadership that the United States has played stunning football in its last 3 matches. No matter it won or lost, it always managed to set high standards in field. First it won against Ghana 2-1. The start was strong. However, its best performance was against Portugal. If there was no magical cross of Cristiano Ronaldo at the final minute of play, it could easily have been another 2-1 win for the U.S. The U.S. team was denied victory at the last moment as the match ended in 2-2 draw. When it started playing its third group stage match against Germany, it knew that only a miracle in the other match between Portugal and Ghana could prevent it from going to the next round. The miracle did not take place. The United States went to the "Round of 16" as a deserving team. Now, it has to face Belgium which is much stronger on paper. However, Klinsmann's boys know that football is not played on paper.

Head to Head

These two teams played 5 times against each other before. Belgium won 4, and the U.S. 1. There were 13 goals scored in total. Belgium scored 8 of those and the U.S. 5.

Key Players

Belgium: Marouane Fellaini and Jan Vertonghen

United States: Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey

Date, Time & Venue

Brazil's time zone is UTC/GMT -3. The match starts at 5 pm (local time) on July 1, which means it is 6 am on July 2 in New South Wales, Australia. The match will be held at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador.

Prediction

The United States will continue to play magnificent and courageous football. Belgium will not be able to match the U.S. standard. The U.S.A. will win it 2-1 and move to the quarter-finals.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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(Photo: REUTERS/Tony Gentile / )
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann claps after their 2014 World Cup Group G soccer match with Germany at the Pernambuco arena in Recife June 26, 2014.
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