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The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team is set to play Belgium on Tuesday in the opening round of the World Cup knockout stages. While the U.S. has shown more heart and resilience than most people thought they would be capable of, the game against Belgium will still be a very tough match.
Belgium stars include Captain Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini who all play in the Premier League and Daniel Van Buyten who plays for Bayern Munich. Fortunately for the U.S., Kompany might be sidelined for their match due to a groin injury.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 28, 2014
image via Twitter from FoxSoccer
The fact of the matter is that the U.S. will be viewed as the underdog no matter who they are facing.
"We relish the role of underdog," goalkeeper Tim Howard told CBS This Morning. "It keeps us hungry. It allows us to not be complacent."
With that said, the U.S. has proven they can play with anyone when they outplayed Portugal and stuck with Germany for most of their match. However, to win this game they will need to stick to their style of soccer and not get forced into playing Belgium’s game. Michael Bradley will have to play much better than he did against Germany.
Look for Clint Dempsey and Kyle Beckerman to have a really good game if the U.S. has a chance to win.
The U.S. has been focusing on ball control and possession over everything else and with Omar Gonzalez back in the starting lineup they will have more leeway to pressure the Belgium defenders without fearing a major counterattack. Even if Kompany sits out, the Belgium defense is one of the best in the tournament.
During an international friendly in May 2013, Belgium bested the U.S. 4-2 according to BleacherReport. This, along with the idea that the U.S. isn’t a soccer nation, will evidently be their biggest asset. They thrive on being underestimated and are a much better team than they were over a year ago.