The U.S. men’s national soccer team may have lost to Germany, but the Americans still advance to the next round of the World Cup.
The USA was tied for points with Portugal in Group G, but they still made it to the Round of 16 because they had a higher goal differential. The U.S. team faces the Belgians in their first matchup of the knockout stage Tuesday, July 1, in Brazil.
Belgium ranks 11th on the FIFA World Rankings and 9th on the ESPN Soccer Power Index Rankings. USA ranks 13th on the FIFA World Rankings and 18th on the ESPN Soccer Power Index rankings.
Belgium won all of their Group H matchups. They came out victorious against Algeria, 2-1, and took out both Russia and the Korea Republic, 1 - 0. Belgium was the highest ranked team in their group, with Russia coming in second at 19th in the FIFA World Rankings and 27th in the ESPN Soccer Power Index Rankings.
However, USA had tougher opponents in their first three World Cup games. USA won, tied and lost a match in Group G, which was labelled the ‘Group of Death’ early on because of some of its formidable soccer teams. The Americans had to come up against Portugal and Germany, which are both in the top ten of the FIFA world rankings. They tied the Portuguese, 2 - 2, and lost to the Germans, 0 - 1.
Dustin George-Miller, who has been blogging about the World Cup for The Elkhart Truth, writes Belgium has great attacking talent and an even better goalkeeper in his Group H preview.
“Belgium usually plays with a sole striker, in this case human battering ram Romelu Lukaku (another Chelsea loanee), with three fluid attacking midfielders behind,” George-Miller writes.
But the Belgians share the same weakness as the Germans, writes The Big Lead. They don’t have natural fullbacks, which play on either side of the defense at the back of the field. BBC Sports writes the fullback’s main job is to stop the opposition from attacking in wide areas and to support the central defenders. As a result, The Big Lead writes that the Belgian team could be vulnerable “against speed and could struggle to overlap”.
Teams are not able to tie with their opponents during the knockout stage, so the Americans will have to beat the Belgians to advance to the next game. If the scores are tied at the end of the game, both teams will have to play for another 30 minutes. If the scores remain the same, the game will be decided on penalty shootouts.
A penalty shootout is when both teams choose five different players to square off against the opposing goalkeeper. The team with the most goals wins the match.
The U.S. men’s national soccer team has a 42 percent chance of winning their matchup against Belgium, according to news analysis website FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver. Silver has previously predicted the outcome for all 50 states during the 2012 presidential election, as reported by The Verge. He adds that USA has a 13 percent chance of winning two knockout stage matches and a 1.2 percent chance of winning the World Cup.
You can watch the matchup between the U.S. men’s national soccer team and Belgium live at 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 1, by tuning in to ESPN or Univision. A full schedule for other upcoming World Cup games on ESPN and ABC is available on ESPN’s website.
You can also follow the action online on ESPN and Univision’s websites. ESPN requires fans to login with their cable subscription information, and Univision will stream the first 56 World Cup matches for free.
If you want to enjoy the World Cup in the company of other fans, several venues in Elkhart, Goshen and South Bend will air the international soccer tournament on their television screens.
Monster Message is bringing a 8.5-foot by 21-foot screen to Civic Plaza and Central Park at 3 p.m. and will be showing the game beginning at 4 p.m.
HOURS: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday
LOCATION: Civic Plaza and Central Park, Main St., Elkhart
Constant Spring offers daily food specials, including sandwiches that are not available during the rest of the week. The venue also carries 50 varieties of beer, 18 of which are on tap, and daily drink specials.
HOURS: 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday.
LOCATION: 219 S. Main St. in Goshen.
BUFFALO’S WILD WINGS
Buffalo’s Wild Wings offers, what else, wings and beer. The Goshen venue also features eight big-screen and 40 flat-screen televisions. Buffalo Wild Wings and Flavor 574 also hosted a World Cup watch party June 12.
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Monday.
LOCATION: 1829 Rieth Blvd. in Goshen.
Fiddler’s Hearth is a pub in South Bend that offers music, Celtic drinks and food.
HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Tuesday, 11 a.m. to midnight Wednesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., Friday to Saturday.
LOCATION: 127 N. Main St. in South Bend.
O’ROURKE’S PUBLIC HOUSE
O’Rourke’s is an Irish pub in South Bend that offers daily drink and food specials throughout the week.
HOURS: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Saturday.
LOCATION: 1044 Angela Blvd., Suite 103, in South Bend.
Do you believe that the U.S. will win against Belgium? Why or why not?