Belgium vs. USA: Form Guide, Live Stream and Prediction for 2014 World Cup

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Belgium vs. USA: Form Guide, Live Stream and Prediction for 2014 World Cup
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Date: Tuesday, July 1

Time: 9 p.m. BST/4 p.m. ET

Venue: Salvador

TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on ESPN (for US viewers) and ITV1 (for UK viewers), with mobile coverage available via WatchESPN and the ITV Player app.

Prediction: Belgium 2-1 USA, after extra-time

 

Form Guide

Belgium were many commentators' dark horses to go far in Brazil. And the Belgians' "golden generation" has not done them a disservice so far, taking nine points from nine in a group containing the perpetually competitive South Korea, Russia and one of the tournament's surprise packages, Algeria. 

But the Belgians' performances have not quite justified the pre-tournament hype. Only late goals have secured their passage into the second round, the earliest of those coming in the 70th minute. Jan Vertonghen's 77th-minute goal gave his side a 1-0 victory over South Korea while Divock Origi left it until the 88th to secure all three points over Russia. 

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

If Marc Wilmots' side are to progress into the latter stages of this tournament, they will need to learn to take their chances earlier in games. To date, they have been saved by moments of individual brilliance, but those moments alone will not win a World Cup; gelling his side together into a well-oiled machine will be Wilmots' greatest challenge in Brazil.

Standing in his way are one of the stories of Brazil so far. Jurgen Klinsmann's USA side have delighted and impressed in equal measure, emerging from the tournament's Group of Death while waving goodbye to Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal side in the process. 

World Cup fever certainly seems to have caught on in the States. Bleacher Report's Twitter account posted this front page from the New York Daily News

A team of journeymen, the US have been excellently organised by German legend Klinsmann who has demanded an attacking brand of football that has left the neutrals purring. For all the individual brilliance of a Portugal side including Ronaldo, Nani and Joao Moutinho, it was the collective unity of the Americans that sent them to within moments of a famous victory. 

BBC Sport reported Klinsmann's comments following his side's narrow 1-0 loss to Germany. 

It's huge for us to reach the last 16. We wanted at least a tie out of the game and maybe at the beginning we had too much respect.

But overall there was tremendous energy and effort from all of the side. It's huge for us to get out of group - everyone said we had no chance but we took that chance. Now we want to prove a point.

But their progression should not hide the defensive frailties that will be severely tested by Belgium. The USA have made a habit of making life difficult for themselves, and nowhere better was this seen than in the 2-2 draw with Portugal. Geoff Cameron's sliced clearance across his own goal fell into the path of Nani for the Manchester United winger to smash home. 

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And just when the three points seemed secure, Klinsmann's men lacked the nous to hold the ball and wait for the final whistle. That man Ronaldo whipped in a delightful cross for Silvestre Varela to nod home in the 94th minute. Such lapses in concentration have to be addressed if the USA are to progress. 

Similarly integral to their chances is the fitness of Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore, who picked up a hamstring injury in the 2-1 defeat of Ghana. As reported by The Guardian's Martin Pengelly, Klinsmann is optimistic about his striker's chances of making the Belgium clash. 

Altidore is certainly hungry to play a further role in this tournament, as he tweeted.

With 23 goals in his 71 caps, Altidore is pivotal to the States' chances, and his partnership with Clint Dempsey can give the best defenders a headache. They'll have to be at their best if they are to challenge one of the world's finest rearguards.

Vertonghen, Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen provide a fearsome test for Dempsey and Altidore, and it is one they will have to pass if they are to see their country go any further in Brazil. 

We fancy the USA to push Belgium very closely in this encounter, which could very well go to extra-time. But on account of Belgium's depth of talent, they should just sneak through to the quarter-finals.

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