The final match in the round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil has arrived. European dark horse Belgium claimed the last quarterfinal spot after taking out emerging soccer nation, USA 2-1 in extra time.
Belgium 2-1 USA (Extra Time)
(De Bruyne 93', Lukaku 105') (Green 107')
The stadium was filled with USA fans whose cheers radiated out of the stadium in the frenzy leading up to kickoff. Once the match started everyone was focused on the action and the air was thick with tension. After making it out of the "group of death" to qualify for the round of 16, USA were aiming to book a date against South American giants Argentina in the top 8.
The Belgians stood in the way of the Americans and in similar fashion to most of the knockout games so far, goals in the very late stages of the game decided who would advance and this time, it would be Belgium's Red Devils.
The Europeans were always the aggressors as every single part of USA keeper Tim Howard was utilized to save shots. Howard managed to keep out 16 attempts throughout the game; the most saves by a goal keeper in a World Cup match since all the way back in 1966.
The entire USA backline were also instrumental in keeping the Belgians from taking the lead earlier. Matt Besler and DaMarcus Beasley did some stellar defending to keep the Belgians at bay on several occasions and took some pressure off an already over-worked Howard.
Belgium made several attempts at goal throughout regulation time coming from Divock Origi , Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens, all had clear shots at the goal and were all denied by Howard.
The game was pushed into extra time and Belgium finally have had enough of the deadlock and broke through the USA defense with two goals in the first half of extra time. De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku were the architects of both goals which they shared between them.
The USA pulled one back with the introduction of Julian Green in the 105th minute and his goal only two minutes later. The USA fought hard but Belgium held on to deny an equalizer and a chance for a penalty shootout. The American dream has come to an end but the match was valiantly fought and the USA have a lot to be proud of in this campaign. The Belgians will be facing Argentina in the quarterfinals.