The message has been clear and consistent: The U.S. team is not content with escaping the Group Of Death at the 2014 World Cup and doesn't plan on leaving Brazil any time soon. The U.S. will have a chance to earn just its third trip to the World Cup quarterfinals when it takes on Belgium in a win-and-advance Round of 16 matchup at Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador on Tuesday.
"We are not just satisfied with just getting to the Round of 16; we want to do more," U.S. striker Clint Dempsey said during a press conference on the eve of the match. "It’s a difficult challenge playing against Belgium, they have a lot of quality players, but at the same time, I think that if we play to the best of our ability, we can get the right result."
USA vs. Belgium
WHERE: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
TIME: 4 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN, Univision
The U.S. emerged from the formidable Group G as the runner-up while Belgium advanced into the knockout round as the top team in Group H. Belgium, the second-youngest team at the World Cup, fields a lineup stocked with skillful players starring at clubs across Europe. Undefeated in Group H, Belgium's inexperience and talent were both on full display in wins over Algeria, Russia and South Korea. In all three of its group-stage matches, Belgium initially struggled to break down its opponents but secured wins with late goals. All four of Belgium's group-stage goals came in the 70th minute or later.
In a knockout round game that could stretch into extra time, Belgium's penchant for late heroics could certainly come into play yet again. Despite his opponent's unblemished record in Brazil and daunting lineup that includes Eden Hazard, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann seemed at least as concerned with the referee that FIFA assigned to the match as he was with his squad's ability to compete.
"We worked hard for this moment," Klinsmann said during his media availability on Monday. "We made it through a very difficult group and now we want more. We are very, very hungry and focused and have a lot of respect for the Belgium side, as Clint said, but no fear at all."
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Belgium holds on for the 2-1 win over the United States despite a heroic effort by Tim Howard and a late goal from Julian Green.
Tick tock... Kinsmann is furious at the lack of time.
The cross comes in but no one can turn it to goal. U.S. is pressing, hard, for the equalizer with just minutes remaining.
A terrific set play on the free kick sends Dempsey in on goal but Thibaut Courtois saves.
The U.S. earn a free kick from 30 yards in the 113th minute, still looking for the equalizer.
Another shot for the Belgium No. 9 and another strong save from Howard.
Yedlin's Cross finds four U.S. players in the box. Jermaine Jones tries to side foot it in but can't.
It's Julian Green in the 107th minute. The 19-year-old comes through!
Julian Green is on for the U.S. as the teams start the second period of extra time.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 1, 2014
It's Lukaka scoring on a run in from the right wing. It's 2-0 in the 105th minute.
He saves low again and is doing everything humanly possible to give his teammates a chance to find an equalizer.
The U.S. had the ball at the edge of the Belgium penalty area but couldn't get off a shot. Passing between Jones and Dempsey just doesn't bounce right and Belgium escapes the danger.
Lukaka, on the left this time, forces another save from Howard. Belgium corner kick.
Jermaine Jones wins a free kick in the Belgium half and U.S. players push forward. Bradley skies it out of play.
An early goal for Belgium in the extra time as De Bruyne gets the ball low past Howard after Lukaka forced a save.
Beasley cross from the left corner and Jones gets forward. He puts the ball wide of the net but an early foray for the U.S.
The first 15-minute period of extra time is on. Both 15-minute periods will be played regardless of any goals scored.
They're scoreless through 90 minutes and stoppage time. Extra time is up next.
The ball dropped to Wondo right in front of goal but he sent it over the bar.
Ball is deep in Belgium end as clock ticks toward extra time.
There will be 3 minutes of stoppage time for either side to find a winner.
Gonzalez heads away another Hazard chance. Belgium corner.
Howard pushes away another close shot from Kompany. Belgium corner in the 90th minute.
Eden Hazard tries to beat Howard on the near post and puts the ball into the side netting.
Belgium handles it and clears out to Origi but Beasley wins a free kick just past midfield.
Gonzalez breaks up a Belgium attack with a well-timed touch against Hazard.
Howard pushes another effort from the 19-year-old over. It's a corner kick.
Besler blocks the latest Belgium effort before Howard can in the 83rd minute.