The USA vs Belgium match will take place on Tuesday, July 1, at 4:00 PM (EST) at Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Brazil.
The two teams have met twice in recent years, with Belgium winning both matches. The Red Devils (the nickname of Belgium's team) won 4-2 in a 2013 exhibition match (a "friendly," in soccer parlance), and won 1-0 in a 2011 friendly. To be fair, the US did beat Belgium once in World Cup play, 3-0. In 1930.
Belgium easily won Group H, with clean wins against Algeria, Russia, and South Korea. The US, on the other hand, came in second place in Group G, referred to as the "Group of Death," defying all expectations, by beating Ghana, playing to a draw against Portugal, and losing yesterday to Germany.
By some analyses, things don't look good for the USA. Ron Goldberg of Bleacherreport.com states:
While Belgium had not been in the World Cup since 2002, they came into Brazil as a dark horse to bring home a title. The squad has loads of talent all over the pitch, and they had little trouble getting through Group H with a first-place finish.However, other analyses paint a more evenly-matched picture, with the odds slightly favoring the Belgians. Fivethirtyeight.com puts the odds of a US win against Belgium at 43%. The FIFA Rankings, as of this post, put Belgium at 11th in the world, and the USA at 13th. However, Sounak Mukhopadhyay of International Business Timespredicts a 2-1 win for the US.
ESPN Soccer Analyst Adrian Healey believes that the match may come down to the play of two players:
Jozy Altidore running with a trainer at start of today's light session back in São Paulo. #USA #USMNT pic.twitter.com/0AT4fBdmlFThe biggest question for the Americans is whether striker Jozy Altidore will play against Belgium. As of this post, it is unclear if his hamstring injury has healed. Jozy has not mentioned his injury on his Twitter feed. However, New York Red Bulls writer Franco Panzio tweeted:
— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) June 27, 2014
— Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey) June 27, 2014
In other, somewhat-related soccer news, an Ann Coulter opinion piece that suggests that Americans have a duty to hate soccer, has gone viral.
What is your prediction for the outcome of the USA vs Belgium match? Let us know in the Comments.
Image source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3d/Clint_Dempsey_and_Marouane_Fellani_USA_vs_Belgium.jpg/320px-Clint_Dempsey_and_Marouane_Fellani_USA_vs_Belgium.jpg