CHICAGO --In the final match of the knockout round, Belgium got off to a fast start, almost catching the Americans napping. Tim Howard made a leg save on Divock Origi who should have scored in the first minute. In the 16th minute some idiot ran onto the field. Security collected him at midfield and escorted him off the pitch, hopefully to teach him a lesson.
For the most part, Team USA played a defensive minded game with the pressing Belgians for the first half. The early part of the 2nd half, Belgium kept up the pressure, testing Tim Howard time after time but the American would not give ground. Late in regulation, Jurgen Klinsmann substituted Graham Zusi for Chris Wondolowski and it seemed to invigorate the Americans offense. However the score was nil-nil after 90 minutes plus 3 minutes of stoppage time. So it went to overtime, and just a minute into the extra session, Belgium scored the first goal of the game. Romelu Lukaku fed Kevin DeBruyne and after he made two moves, drilled the ball past an exhausted Howard. In the 105th minute, DeBruyne got the ball about 50 yards out, dribbled down the far side, fed Lukaku and he blasted it past Howard, 2-nil Belgium.
In the 105th minute, Klinsmann put teenager Julian Green into the match. The kid didn't waste any time. Two minutes later, he took a pass and with a swing of his right foot, pulled the Americans to within a goal at 2-1. USA poured everything they had into the final 16 minutes, but the Belgians held on to win by a goal. No matter what, Tim Howard is my man of the match. He made a record 16 saves, the most ever in a World Cup match. Belgium advances to the quarterfinals against Argentina.
In the first game of today's knockout stage Argentina, led by their best player, Lionel Messi, survived by beating a very tough Swiss side 1-nil. This game was scoreless after 90 plus minutes, so it went to overtime. In the 118th minute, Messi collected the ball near midfield and dribbled toward the Swiss goal, he spotted Angel DiMaria out of the corner of his eye running down his right side, Messi fed him the perfect pass and DiMaria drilled it past Diego Benaglio for the game winner. Switzerland had a chance to tie it up in final seconds but Blerim Dzemaili bounced a header off the base of the left post. Argentina went on to win 1-nil and they will play Belgium July 5th, my birthday, at 11am Chicago time.
This is the last of the knockout stage games. The "Elite Eight" has been set. We'll have two days off but will continue the blog on Wednesday with thoughts on the quarterfinals.
World Cup Blog Archive
Since joining ABC7 in 1982, Jim Rose has become a major force in Chicago sports broadcasting. He currently serves as sports anchor/reporter for ABC7 News in Chicago's top-rated 4:00 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts. He is an avid fan of the World Cup! Learn more about Jim