The Belgium national team has sneaked past a thrilling American side in a nail biting clash, consolidated by an outstanding performance from 35-year-old goalkeeper Tim Howard and an energetic contribution from young star Julian Green.
A game that saw 56 efforts on goal, and the most saves in World Cup history from Howard himself, resulted in an amazing match, capped off by extra-time goals and an array of missed chances. Coming to life in the 90th minute, the final result of this match should have been done and dusted right there and then with American Chris Wondolowski the hero. But unfortunately for him it wasn’t, and what resulted from that incomprehensible miss from approximately two yards, was a spectacle of end-to-end World Cup football.
Following a string of superhuman saves from Tim Howard throughout this Round of 16 encounter in normal time, he was finally broken in the second minute of extra-time with Belgian midfielder Kevin de Bruyne turning and shooting with finesse to register his first World Cup goal. In the 105th minute, it was 2-0 to Belgium and it seemed like the American Dream was over, Romelu Lukaku drilling the ball into the bottom corner of Howard’s goal. But the USA were adamant not to leave Brazil without putting up a fight. Youngster Julian Green scored a volley in the 107th minute that nestled into the top corner of the Belgian net and all of a sudden, everything was on the line.
Michael Bradley’s free kick curled into the box and captain Clint Dempsey, in a crucial moment for Belgium, missed a sitter as his shot was saved by Howard’s opposite number Thibaut Courtois. Belgium’s golden generation lived up to their billing against the USA. Now Argentina is next.
Final Result: 2-1
Man of the Match: Tim Howard (USA)