Belgium (3-0) vs. United States (1-1-1)
|Date & Time||Tuesday July 1, 2014, 4:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: USA +300
The United States and Belgium will play an improbable elimination World Cup match on Tuesday afternoon.
Belgium was able to sweep Group H with wins over Algeria, Russia and Korea Republic. You have to give credit to Belgium, a team that’s allowed only one goal the entire tournament. Belgium is also only the fourth team in this World Cup to sweep its bracket. However, this team hasn’t lived up to expectations, winning all three of its matches on one-goal nail biters. Belgium’s two key players in Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard have been disappearing acts for much of the tournament and will have to be a lot more aggressive for this team to have any shot. Goalie Thibaut Courtois can only keep standing on his head for so long. They say the knockout rounds are a new tournament, and it’s going to be interesting to see which Belgium team shows up.
The United States has overachieved with a win over Ghana, draw with Portugal and one-goal loss to Germany. Many didn’t believe the U.S. had what it took to survive the Group of Death, but thanks to impressive goalkeeping from Tim Howard and a great all-around defense, the United States has proved a point to the rest of the world. USA has done a lot of defending in the tournament, losing the possession battle in all three matches, including allowing Germany to control the ball for 63 percent of the match. It’s panned out for them so far, but I’m sure coach Jurgen Klinsmann would like to see a little more attacking offensively. That could start with a possible return from Jozy Altidore, who remains questionable for this match.
As I mentioned before, Belgium hasn’t impressed me offensively despite its three wins. All three matches were against subpar opponents and probably shouldn’t have been as close as they were. Meanwhile, the U.S. has battled its way through a proven group and has shown it isn’t intimated by anybody in this tournament.
The U.S. will be the toughest team Belgium has faced thus far, I’m not sure I can say the same thing the other way around. Give me the USA for the victory.