The USA was eliminated from FIFA World Cup on Tuesday after falling 2-1 to Belgium in the Round of 16 knockout stage at Estadio Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil for a passionate crowd of 51,227. Belgium now advances to the tournament quarterfinals against Argentina on Saturday, July 5, at Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha in Brasilia.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard played the game of his life and set a FIFA World Cup record by making 16 saves from a very good Belgium side. Belgium hammered Howard with 31 shots, compared to only seven attempts by the USA in the first 90 minutes. Howard also became the all-time U.S. Men's National Team leader in World Cup with eight caps and starts among goalkeepers, surpassing Tony Meola.
The USA started flat-footed and almost went down early on, were it not for Howard, who kept the game scoreless until it went into extra time. Kevin De Bruyne, who threatened throughout the match, broke the stalemate in the 93rd minute with an unassisted goal.
In the 105th minute, Romelu Lukaku, assisted by Kevin De Bruyne, doubled the difference to 2-0 and scored the game-winner when he shot from the edge of the six-yard box. Nineteen year-old late substitute Julian Green, assisted by Michael Bradley, spoiled the shutout for Belgium with a well-executed volley in the 107th minute of his World Cup debut.
Klinsmann's starting 4-3-3 lineup featured the same back line from the Germany match - left back DaMarcus Beasley, right back Fabian Johnson and center backs Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. The midfield featured Geoff Cameron on the right, Michael Bradley in the middle and Jermaine Jones on the left. The front line utilized Alejandro Bedoya, captain Clint Dempsey and Graham Zusi. Unfortunately, Landon Donovan was not present.
Johnson pulled up early with a hamstring injury in the 32nd minute and was replaced by defender DeAndre Yedlin, who performed well. Chris Wondolowski entered for Zusi in the 72nd minute and skyed a point blank chance for the U.S., one of the few opportunities. Green replaced Bedoya in the second minute of stoppage of the first 15-minute overtime.
The USA is now 32-13-9 all-time under U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and 8-19-6 all-time in FIFA World Cup, while Belgium stands at 14-17-9. This is the first time the United States reached the Round of 16 in two consecutive World Cups. DaMarcus Beasley is the only American to play in four different FIFA World Cups.
American support of the National Team reached its highest level ever, with enormous public watch parties in cities across the country.
Belgium yellow card watch
Several Belgium players have already been cautioned and will be suspended with another: Jan Vertonghen (caution on June 17), Toby Alderweireld (caution on June 22), Axel Witsel (caution on June 22), Mousa Dembele (caution on June 26), Steven Defour (ejection on June 26 and was unavailable for Tuesday's match against the USA), Vincent Kompany (caution on July 1). For players who have only one caution through the conclusion of the quarterfinal stage, that yellow card clears from his record heading into the semifinals.
Next up for USA
The USA is next scheduled to face the Czech Republic on Sept. 3 in Prague, Czech Republic.
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
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)