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De Bruyne, Lukaku lift Belgium in extra time, send U.S. out of World Cup

Jul 1, 2014, 6:34 PM EDT

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01: Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium celebrates after scoring his team's first goal in extra time during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil. Getty Images

It took 93 minutes to break through, but after dominating regulation time against the United States, Belgium took the result they deserved. With extra time goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, the Red Devils are into the final eight at the 2014 World Cup, eliminating the United States 2-1 in Salvador, Brazil.

Despite out-shooting the U.S. 31-8 over the first 90 minutes, Group H’s winners were kept off the scoresheet through the first two periods, a status that changed three minutes into extra. After Lukaku beat Matt Besler to get behind the U.S. defense, a ball cut back toward the spot allowed De Bruyne to beat Howard from nine yards out. Eleven minutes later, De Bruyne’s pass into the left of the penalty area led to the Belgian’s winner, with Lukaku doubling his team’s lead from 12 yards out.

[ MORE: Player Ratings: How US fared in brave defeat ]
[ MORE: Three things we learned from US v Belgium ]

In the 107th minute, the U.S. cut the lead in half, with 19-year-old Julian Green scoring moments after becoming the youngest American to appear at the World Cup. Though the U.S. would come close once more, the Red Devils were able to hold on to their lead, handing the Americans a second straight Round of 16 loss – the fourth time in six tournaments a one-goal game has seen the U.S. out of the World Cup.

Belgium now moves on to face Argentina on Saturday in Brasilía, with the Albiceleste having beaten Switzerland earlier on in the day, 1-0. The victor will face the winner to the Netherlands-Costa Rica in the semifinals.

The match’s first surprise came when the U.S.’s lineup was announced, with Geoff Cameron, who had started the tournament’s first two games in central defense, chosen in midfield at the expense of Kyle Beckerman. Within 30 seconds of kickoff, Cameron was part of Belgium’s first attack, with miscommunication on a pass between himself and Alejandro Bedoya leading to a Red Devils’ counter. Tim Howard eventually kicked-saved Dorick Origi’s shot out for a corner.

It was the best chance Belgium would have in a half where they out-shot the U.S. 9-3, with a 3-1 edge in shots on target. The Americans, playing mostly down their right, were able to generate a handful of near-chances. With possession even through most of the half, Belgium created its best chances in transition.

source: AP

Fabian Johnson leaves the pitch after being injured during the first half against Belgium. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

At the 32-minute mark, the U.S. suffered its first major setback, losing right back Fabian Johnson. After spending much of the first 30 minutes trying to race behind Belgian left back Jan Vertonghen, Johnson fell to the ground near the center line, gabbing at his left hamstring. Immediately signaling for a substitute, Johnson gave way to 2o-year-old DeAndre Yedlin, who provided a few moments of danger over the half’s final quarter-hour.

[ MORE: Tim Howard’s heroics not enough ]
[ MORE: Klinsmann: U.S. gave everything they had ]

In the second half, however, Belgium began focusing on Yedlin’s flank, using Vertonghen to generate two good chances in the period’s first 10 minutes through Vertonghen. The U.S. attempted to help Yedlin by shading central midfield Jermaine Jones to his flank, but with Eden Hazard also playing down Belgium’s left, the Red Devils nearly broke through just before the hour mark.

By that time, Belgium had begun dominating the game, holding the ball long enough in the U.S.’s defensive third to pin the American wingers next to their fullbacks. With three midfielders playing in front of a line of six, the U.S.’s chances to built out of the back began to diminish, and while Yedlin was still able to put in a number of dangerous balls from the right flank, his forays forward allowed Belgium to find Kevin De Bruyne deep down their left in transition.

In the 62nd minute, Belgian head coach Marc Wilmots brought Kevin Miralles on for Dries Mertens, a move that balanced the team’s attack. I the 71st minute, Mirallas forced four players to collapse on him at the edge of the penalty area, generating a chance for Origi. Five minutes later, Mirallas cracked the U.S. defense again, going through on Howard after a diagonal run was found by Origi. In the 79th minute, Mirallas collapsed the defense again, sending a ball through the area of Hazard. Howard’s ninth save of the match kept the score even. For a 10-minute stretch in the middle of the second half, Mirallas was the game’s most important player.

By the time he was gone, Belgium’s control had turned into dominance. By the time Origi, in the 85th minute, drew Howard’s 10th of 16 saves (the most ever recorded in a World Cup match), the Belgians had out-shot the U.S. 27-6. Corner kicks were 14-3, while the U.S. had been called on to block eight shots. The numbers that mattered may have still read 0-0, but Belgium was out-classing their opponents on the field.

Despite all their advantages, Belgium nearly saw the match stolen from them before extra time. After Geoff Cameron looped a ball into the Belgian box, Jermaine Jones’s herder appears to find an open Chris Wondolowski behind the Belgian defense, eight yards from goal. As Wondolowski skied his shot over goal, the assistant referee’s flag went up, rendering the chance meaningless was the teams went to extra time.

source: AP

Tim Howard, left, deflects a shot by Kevin Mirallas, one of 16 saves the U.S. goalkeeper made against Belgium. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

Three minutes after the next kickoff, Belgium was in front, with another Wilmots’ substitute again changing the game. Off a ball out of their own end rolled down the right flank, Romelu Lukaku, who had just come on for Origi, beat Besler to go through toward goal, sending the U.S. defender to ground near the center line. Eventually cutting a pass back toward the penalty spot, the Belgian striker allowed De Bruyne to put the Red Devils in front, getting his shot around a recovering Besler to beat Howard inside the far post.

Eleven minutes later, Lukaku and De Bruyne teamed up again, doubling Belgium’s leaded. Off another transition chance, De Bruyne carried the ball down the left flank before pulling up at the edge of the penalty box. Lukaku, cutting across Besler, ran onto a ball rolled into the left of the penalty area, one-timing a high shot past Howard for a 2-0 lead.

Four minutes later, a demoralized U.S. swapped halves with Red Devils, not knowing they’d soon have reason for hope. Off a Michael Bradley ball chipped into the penalty area, Julian Green, making his first appearance in this year’s tournament, cut in from the left flank and turned on a right-footed volley that beat Thibaut Courtois. Moments after becoming the U.S.’s youngest player at a World Cup (19), Green became his country’s youngest scorer, making it 2-1 with 14 minutes to play.

In the 114th minute, the U.S. nearly had their equalizer, with Dempsey left alone in front of goal after a Bradley restart went behind the Belgian wall. By the time the U.S. captain reached the ball, all 6’6″ of Courtois was in front of the shot, with the ensuing rebound eventually cleared by Vertonghen.

As the game reached the end of its second hour, the U.S. had finally evened play. Ultimately, it was too late. After a game that saw most of the action tilted toward Tim Howard’s goal — one where the U.S. was out-shot 39-17 — Belgium is into the quarterfinals, leaving the U.S. to balance its Group of Death escape against a second straight extra time exit from the World Cup.

Lineups

Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Van Buyten, Kompany, Vertonghen; Witsel, Fellaini; Mertens (Miralles 60′), De Bruyne, Hazard (Chadli 111′); Origi (Lukaku 91′).

Goals: De Bruyne 93′, Lukaku 105′

United States: Howard; Johnson (Zusi 32′), Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley; Cameron, Bradley, Jones; Zusi (Wondolowski 72′), Dempsey, Bedoya (Green 105′)

Goals: Green 107′

  1. usdcoyotesfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Belgium didn’t beat the US, the refs did.

    • mdac1012 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:47 PM

      The refs had nothing to do with it. It was a great game and we went down fighting! Very proud of our guys!

    • kale42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:48 PM

      Ummm they were dominated and outshot 38-15. The refs didn’t supply all of those shots

      • usdcoyotesfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:48 PM

        I’m pretty sure more than one minute should have been added at the end of overtime.

      • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        Almost no time wasted in the second half of ET was there? All I can remember was end to end attacking. The time added is actually to compensate for injury time, time wasting, goal celebrations etc. It isn`t added to make sure the American team have time to score the goals they need.

    • stultusmagnus - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:40 PM

      Hmmm, not sure about that. The US shot themselves in the foot with inept passing and possession opportunities. Any other keeper and the Belgians would have routed them before the refs called some sort of mercy rule.

  2. footballer4ever - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    what a heartbreak!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. rockstardaddy - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    I will never understand why Klinsmann never introduced fresh legs at the back. Johnson was swapped for Yedlin when injured, but Gonzalez/Besler/Beasley were basically left out there to get pummeled for an hour and a half..

  4. rmccleary97 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    Great effort by the U.S. in the 2nd overtime, but the first 105 minutes shows why Klinsmann was exactly right that winning the World Cup in 2014 was unrealistic. We can play with the top teams in spurts, and maybe we’ll scratch out a couple of wins that way, but we have a lot of work to do to be able to hang with the top teams in the world on a consistent basis. Ball control, consistent offensive pressure, putting away chances, … we can’t play the underdog and wait until we’re down 1-0 or 2-0 before we decide to flip the switch on. We get that stuff fixed, and then we can talk about contending for a title.

    Hell of a performance this time around. Now, we have to take the lessons learned here and build on it for the next 4 years.

    • fpstratton - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Excellent analysis: It is a very high mountain to climb for the U.S. to be able to defeat European teams in a World Cup setting. I thought that, against Germany, we were clearly at a lower level. For spurts against Belgium, the same could have been said. The American spirit of determination and fight nearly brought us back in spite of our technical deficiencies. It really is remarkable how similar the last four games have been over 2 days: the underdog fights valiantly but ultimately doesn’t have enough firepower to beat the odds. I hope U.S. soccer fans don’t despair: we are definitely making inroads, but it may take another two world cups before we crack the elite 8 or, even better, make the final 4.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:55 PM

      Many positives in this effort I think. The US team played better than old giants like Italy and Spain, which is something to think about. And winning a World Cup is insanely hard. You need a kick ass goalscorer or two, a defense and keeper that don`t make mistakes, the right mentality and preparation and good depth in the squad to withstand all the intense matches, particularly after the group stage.
      There`s a good reason only 8 nations have ever won it. Even great teams like Holland have never succeeded. Any team that gets to a QF in a World Cup can go home proudly, and the Americans certainly can.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:07 PM

      I don`t think you can reliably plan to win a World Cup. It is insanely hard, which is why only 8 nations have ever won the darn thing.
      You need a lethal goalscorer who will take his chance when he gets it, and not balloon it over or hit the post. You need the right tactics, the right mental approach, a defense and keeper making as close to no mistakes as possible, an energetic midfield, the right preparation and good depth in all positions. And even with all that you could lose before the final, because chances are two or three other teams also have all that.
      It`s just incredibly competitive, and particularly winning it the first time is a huge task. Spain tried for 50 years, and they had the best league in the world going on there. I would love to see the US win it though. I just know, as any European soccer fan does, how hard it really is to win the World Cup.

      • fpstratton - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        Amen….and I would add that one of those nations, Uruguay, won, I believe, a couple of cups in the 1930’s. England hasn’t won since 1966. France won once in 1998, and that may never happen again, so if you throw out Spain, we are down to four nations that have won multiple Cups over the last 50 years: Italy, Germany, Brazil, and Argentina. As you say, this is a very hard nut to crack!

      • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:52 PM

        @fpstratton

        Precisely. And even Argentina hasn`t won it now since 1986 and Germany since 1990 so you can really reduce it to Italy, which got eliminated after playing horribly this time, and has only won it once in 30 years now, and Brazil as regular winners. The others are relegated to contenders.

        To me the key will be to develop the MLS into something both competitive and popular in the USA, so recruitment can bloom more. And I agree with Klinsmann that exporting players is preferable to importing them, because that gives young domestic players more opportunities to establish themselves in the MLS. The best international side historically is by far Brazil, which has all its best players systematically exported to top clubs in Europe. Meanwhile the nations in Europe with the best leagues, excepting Germany, which focuses on developing national talents in the club sides, are struggling internationally because those leagues are full of foreigners.

        England, Italy and Spain all went out in ignominy at the World Cup, and it is not a coincidence. The best team in England last season has two English players in it.

  5. dws110 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:49 PM

    ‘Effing heroic.

    • kale42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:51 PM

      What was? If only the desperation in the final 10 mins was there for the previous hour and a half

      • mdac1012 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        When your overmatched in terms of size, speed, skill and the other team keeps coming at you in wave after wave and you still hang in there that’s heroic. Our keeper played the game of his life, our backline looked like a Chinese fire drill at times, but they kept fighting, that’s heroic.

    • kale42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:24 PM

      That’s not heroic, it’s called losing by a goal. Heroic is saving a life or educating youth

      • fpstratton - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:46 PM

        Within the context of a competitive sports setting, the U.S. was heroic. Why go off-topic?

    • kale42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      Getting greatly outplayed by a team 2 spots ahead of you in the world rankings and losing is not heroic, no matter how you want to spin it. Throwing around the term heroic and great is becoming all too common these days

      • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:01 PM

        Nobody cares about the world rankings much tbh, and certainly not in a World Cup. The problem with it is that friendlies count and that top seeded teams have easier groups in qualifications, especially in Europe. Playing San Marino and Andorra home at Wembley just doesn`t prove anything.

      • mdac1012 - Jul 1, 2014 at 10:17 PM

        Again, heroic is being used in a sports context, it’s like saying you “hate” a player off a team, don’t take it so seriously. Even though Belgium may be two spots ahead of the U.S. in the FIFA rankings, we all know those rankings mean relatively little in determining the best teams. Belgium was picked by some to win the tournament, nobody picked the U.S. to make it out of the group.

  6. mulder1127mulder1127 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    A record performance by our goal keeper and we still lose. It just shows how far we still are from being a world soccer power.

  7. jucam1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    Wait what?… The Belgians DOMINATED this game?… This game, if not for Howard would have been at least 4-0! Learn to lose kid. The Belgians put on a clinic until they sat back with 10 minutes to go and the German Green kid scored. (Thank God JK brought him instead of Donovan who would never have made that play). Face it, The US squeaked in, they were in over there heads from the beginning of this game, and the MAN Howard saved and kept them in it. Go take a look at shots on goal and legit scoring chances, Howard set a record on saves. The US will grow and develop some more, bring in and nationalize some more good talent like Green, and do better in Russia. Just don’t use the super weak Ref excuse when you know the US had no chance if Howard wasn’t there

  8. cutelittleguy02 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Dominating totally USA team. Btw, USA was lucky to go through this round…back door. See you next World Cup.

    • mdac1012 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:02 PM

      How do you figure back door? They got the results they needed, Ghana and Portugal didn’t, simple as that.

  9. jucam1 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    It’s called “back door” when you lose your last game and get in by goal differential, which is what happened. Internationally that is what I have always heard it called. Now, I am not defending the previous comenter bc I don’t know his intent, but just giving you a context. The US “backed in” because they lost the game they needed to win in the final game yet got in via goal diff.

    • mdac1012 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      I appreciate you posting and clarifying but “backdoor” is also used in a derogatory manner to say a team didnt deserve to advance. Everybody played each other and had the same opportunity. The US did what they had to and the other teams didn’t. Everybody got what they deserved.

    • fpstratton - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      Yes, but the U.S. outplayed Portugal and really were deserving of a win in that game. I wouldn’t say they backed in simply because Portugal got the tie in the nick of time. The U.S.’s best game was against Portugal (the second half of that game was their best half of the tournament). The game against Ghana achieved the desired result, but I don’t think the U.S. controlled that game the way they did the Portugal game. The U.S. was pretty much extinguished against Germany and for large portions of the game against Belgium, i.e., we are still a cut below most of the good European squads.

  10. SergeantKabukiMan - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Hats off to the Belgium club. They were clearly better and deserved the win. Gotta feel for Howard. Was a brick wall throughout regulation and was a Wondo kick away from stealing a win. Seems like the game is really picking up here and hopefully the momentum that was gained doesn’t fade away.

  11. tonico1615 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    Can anyone explain to me why Joy Antidote did not play?

    • tonico1615 - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      I meant Jozy Altidore

      • jaybaileys - Jul 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        obviously his hamstring was still injured

      • rmccleary97 - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        He would have had to enter the game as a substitute, and Klinsmann elected to use other players as subs.

  12. jaybaileys - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    US did about as good as they could when their center midfielder and best playmaker was certainly not at the top of his game. Brilliant pass to set up the goal, but too little, too late from him. Howard thankfully was on his game or this would have been an embarrassment. US needs to shore up their back line a bit. I think everyone knows this. I hope Klinsmann sticks around because I doubt anyone seriously had them getting out of that group ahead of time. Great effort, just not enough, pretty much the script for US soccer. Hopefully they build on it and come back even better in 2018!

  13. navyeoddavee9 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    usd: can’t blame the refs on this one, ridiculous comment.

    kale: heroic is a word used in sports all the time, not a big deal

    30 year Navy Bomb Disposal Tech, has no problem with heroic, just take it in the context for which it is being used

    • kale42 - Jul 1, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      If it’s used all of the time, then that supports my statement about it being an all too common term in sports. If I’m missing something about how their performance was heroic today please let me know and I am willing to listen, I just don’t see how because they kept a soccer game close with Belgium that they are heroes. Maybe if Johnson had played through a hammy injury or altidore (clearly injured) had come in and scored the tying goal, than yes. But otherwise, I’m not sure the reasoning, please enlighten me

      • fpstratton - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:47 PM

        This is a soccer blog. Of course they aren’t heroes in the same sense as people who save lives everyday. A lot of terms are overused in sports, like the term “choke.” The U.S. dug in against a superior opponent and seemed to give it their all. Perhaps the goalie’s performance was the most “heroic” because he was called upon so often to make incredible saves. Maybe the word “incredible” is also overused in sports.

  14. usdcoyotesfan - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    simonkulberg – Jul 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM
    Almost no time wasted in the second half of ET was there? All I can remember was end to end attacking. The time added is actually to compensate for injury time, time wasting, goal celebrations etc. It isn`t added to make sure the American team have time to score the goals they need.
    ——————————————————–
    You’re right it’s added to make sure 30 minutes of extra time are played, and the refs failed to do that.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 1, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      All I was saying is that there is almost never more than a minute added onto an extra time half. Unless someone goes down with an injury for a long time or one of the teams deliberately waste time because they`re ahead you`ll see one minute of added time.
      People should remember that Klinsmann is an old expert at complaining about every single decision in football games,. So him complaining about something doesn`t mean he`s right about the issue. Personally, I was half expecting him to dive on the sidelines to try and get someone booked at this World Cup, like he used to do when he was playing.

  15. jwswans - Jul 2, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    It is Self Evident That World Cup Should be played ” Yearly” In my opinion!

    Not enough real sports on earth that can be enjoyed by All the world, at same time ,uniting it’s human factors and passions in such a simple truthful sport .

    old man swanson

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