World Cup pre-game: Belgium vs. USA
Quarter-final berth awaits winner
Belgium vs. USA
- 4 p.m. ET, Tuesday, July 1
- CBC TV, cbc.ca/fifaworldcup
What’s at stake
Both teams have gone past the Round of 16 before. But not for many years. A victory here would be a huge confidence boost to each side, not to mention a trip to Brasilia.
Belgium's Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo has offered U.S. President Barack Obama a "beer bet" over the match, with the Belgian leader recently tweeting "Hey @BarackObama, I am betting some great Belgian beers that our @BelRedDevils will make it to the quarter final!"
The winner of this match will play the winner of Argentina-Switzerland on Saturday, July 5 in Brasilia.
Belgium has won four of five games against the Americans, outscoring them 8-5.
Belgium. Jan Vertonghen. A defender for Tottenham, Vertonghen captained his team against South Korea and scored the game-winning goal.
USA. Tim Howard. His solid play and highlight-reel saves have been instrumental in taking the USA this far.
What to watch for
Slow starts continue for Belgium — its earliest goal so far has come in the 69th minute. This is the team's collective Achilles Heel, although it’s worked for to this point. But still, Belgium will want to score earlier.
The Americans are gritty, hungry, and inspired by millions of football fans back home. They have to translate that into goals and a victory. And they have to maintain a very solid midfield.
The U.S. will get back forward Jozy Altidore, who missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. However, it's unlikely he'll be in the starting lineup.
They said it
“He’s only 19. His body is not ready.” — Belgium manager Marc Wilmots telling reporters why he won’t start his striker Divock Origi against the Stars and Stripes. Origi scored against Russia to seal Belgium’s top standing in Group H.
“They're a top team. Everyone around Europe will tell you how good they are.” — American keeper Tim Howard speaking about Belgium.
The big number
38 kilometres — Michael Bradley ran this distance in three games. That’s the longest distance covered by any player through to the end of the group stage. He’ll need that endurance against Belgium.
Obligatory fun fact
Goalkeeper Tim Howard scored a goal against Bolton Wanderers in 2012.