Tale Of The Tape: World Cup – USMNT vs Belgium
- GOALKEEPERTim Howard has been the starting keeper for the United States the past two World Cups and has performed admirably, carrying his club form with Everton in the English Premier League over to the world's greatest stage. In the opening game of the 2010 World Cup, Howard turned in a "Man Of The Match" performance in a 1-1 draw against England. So far during this tournament, Howard has played well, especially in the 2-1 opening match win over Ghana.Thibaut Courtois led his Atletico Madrid side at club level to their first Spanish league title in 18 years. Courtois hasn't really been tested so far this World Cup, as the Belgians played some low scoring contests in the group stage. Courtois played every minute during the World Cup qualifiers and kept six clean sheets in 10 matches. He is also been a nightmare for Lionel Messi, the best player in the world, stopping him at club level on many big occassions.
- DEFENDERSMatt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez have all had varying levels of success in this tournament so far. Gonzalez turned in a great performance against Germany, Cameron was very shaky in the first two games against Portugal and Ghana, and Besler has been consistently good all three games. As for the left and right backs, Fabian Johnson has had moment of brillance and DeMarcus Beasley has held his own.Vincent Kompany is one of the best centerbacks in the world, as he wears the captain's armband with good reason. Thomas Vermaelen, out of favor at club level with Arsenal, has played OK through the group stage but did have to exit their second game with a leg injury. Jan Vertonghen is a player who likes to get forward and may pose problems for the USA.
- MIDFIELDERSJermaine Jones has arguably been the USA's best player, scoring a key goal against Portugal and tracking back to defend in several key situations. Alejandro Bedoya has been OK so far, Graham Zusi needs to be better with his signature crosses and corners while Kyle Beckerman has been a rock as a defensive midfielder. Michael Bradley, the heart and soul of the USA midfield, has been poor so far and gave the ball away to lead to Portugal's tying goal in the 2-2 draw.Watch for Marouane Fellani with his signature afro and his physical play. Eden Hazard is Belgium's best player, already recording multiple assists in this tournament so far. His teammate at club level at Chelsea, Kevin De Bruyne, sparked the win against Algeria and is dangerous going forward. Axel Witsel is another young player to watch.
- FORWARDSClint Dempsey leads the attack going forward as Jozy Altidore is still sidelined with a hamstring issue. Dempsey has scored many big goals for the team, including the opener against Ghana and the go ahead goal against Portugal. He will be relied on once again with Altidore out and inexperienced Aron Johannson and Chris Wondolowski on the bench.Romelu Lukaku was an unstoppable force at club level for Everton in the English Premier League, but so far hasn't fired on the international stage. Divock Origi, a 19 year old, scored his first goal for the senior national team in the win over Russia but is very young, very raw and very inexperienced. Kevin Mirallas hasn't impressed much so far this tournament.
- FOODHot dogs, hamburgers and apple pie.Waffles, frites and chocolate.
Belgium has the deeper squad, the better midfield by far and should be able to control the pace of the game throughout. Plus, who could turn down that delicious cuisine?