Team USA survived this World Cup’s “Group of Death”. On Tuesday at the Arena Fonta Nova in Salvador, Brazil, the Americans will look to prove they are legit contenders when they take on Belgium in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup.
“We navigated ourselves through the so-called group of death,” USA’s goalkeeper Tim Howard said to the tournament’s official website. “Not many people gave us credit to be able to do that before the tournament started.”
The Stars and Stripes beat Ghana, 2-1 in their opener before settling for a 2-2 draw with Portugal. They lost to Germany, 1-0 in the final group match but the Americans’ confidence is growing as the tournament hit the knockout stages.
“We’ve been playing some brilliant football,” added Howard. “We’ve been able to open some teams up. We’re not world-beaters yet, but we’re standing toe-to-toe with some big teams.”
To prove they are world-beaters they have to beat Les Diables Rouges (The Red Devils), who topped Group H with three wins in three matches surrendering only one goal so far in Brazil.
Admittedly, Group H is not the strongest among all groups in this World Cup but Belgium is focused on the task at hand.
"The most important thing is not to think about the future or let yourself get distracted," said Belgium star defender Daniel van Buyten. "We'll have all the time in the world to pick over everything afterwards. The World Cup is happening now and we have to rise to the challenge."
In past international matches, Belgium has beaten USA four times in five matches with 13 goals scored between the two squads.
The Americans are the underdogs entering the match priced at 2.73 to win while Belgium is at 1.42. Meanwhile, in the three-way betting, Belgium is at 2.00, USA at 4.20 and a Draw is at 3.40.
Probable Starting 11:
USA (4-1-4-1): Howard; Gonzalez, Johnson, Besler, Beasley; Beckerman; Zusi, Bradley, Jones, Davis; Dempsey
Belgium (4-2-3-1): Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Van Buyten, Vermaelen; Witsel, Fellaini; Mertens, E Hazard, De Bruyne; Lukaku