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Here is your US-Belgium pre-game primer
   July 1, 2014 (12:01 AM) by Matt Benson     Email This Post Email This Post

Here is a quick rundown of things you might want to look at before today’s game.

» The game is at 4 PM Eastern on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision.

» Belgium is ranked #11 by FIFA and #14 by Elo, while the US is #13 by FIFA and #13 by Elo.

» Here are the official game notes by US Soccer.  As for some random stats/facts:

The US is 1-4-0 all-time against Belgium, although the US is 1-0-0 all-time in World Cup meetings against the Belgians, a 3-0 victory in Montevideo, Uruguay at the 1930 World Cup.  The US is 0-2-0 against Belgium under Jurgen Klinsmann.

Belgium won all three of its games during the Group Stage and scored all four of its goals in the last 20 minutes of play.

The US is 3-12-5 all-time against UEFA opponents at the World Cup and is seeking its first World Cup win over a team from Europe since defeating Portugal, 3-2, at the 2002 World Cup.

Jurgen Klinsmann scored a goal against Belgium in Germany’s 3-2 win in the Round of 16 at the 1994 World Cup.

In the event the game heads to penalty kicks, the US is 4-3 all-time in games decided by penalty kicks.  The last time they played in a game decided by PKs was in the 2005 Gold Cup Final.  The US won 3-1 over Panama with Brad Davis scoring the clinching PK.

» Get your game preview fix from the wonderful minds of the guys over at The Shin Guardian and The Yanks Are Coming.

» The only news coming out from the US camp is that Jozy Altidore is available to play.  I don’t think he will play or if he does, it will only be at the end of the game as a sub.  I am no doctor (nor do I read WebMD), but it didn’t look good when he went down and he has only been lightly jogging in training until recently.

Also of note (and I think this is all mind games with Klinsmann when it comes to talking to the press), but Klinsmann is not happy about having a ref from Algeria.

» Here are some photos from yesterday’s training session.

» As for Belgium, Thomas Vermaelen is out due to injury and Vincent Kompany sounds like he will be a game time decision.  Marouane Fellaini and Mousa Dembele should be OK even though they have had some injury issues as well.  And Steven Defour will miss the game due to his red card in Belgium’s game against South Korea.

» If you have missed any of the seven episodes of ESPN’s Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil, you can catch up right here.  The last episode is pretty much a catch up of the first six episodes until around the 40-minute mark when it becomes some new material.

Prediction time:  I honestly have no clue what to expect so watch this video below on repeat until the game starts.

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Matt Benson

Matt likes soccer. He likes sleeping in. He is also amused easily. That is pretty much it.

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Categories: US Men's National Team

2 Responses to “Here is your US-Belgium pre-game primer”

  1. TC says:

    2-1 USA! With a late goal by MB. Let’s go boys!

  2. daniil says:

    belgium like to play a pretty pure 4-3-3, but only have 4 true CM’s on their roster, plus Kevin de Bruyne, a very attacking minded player, who they like to plug in there.

    without defour, the options are dembele, fellaini, witsel, and de bruyne. with dembele and fellaini at <100%, we will likely see de bruyne as a 10/false 8 and witsel in the 6 spot.

    On paper witsel is wonderful, but he has a knack for passing the ball straight to the opposition, and de bruyne loves to play facing goal i.e. not checking in to string up passes in the middle 1/3 of the field.

    at the back, vermaelen out means Van Buynten in, and he has played very well at this world cup. at 36 and with 270 minutes so far, fitness should be no problem for him, especially considering that the weather will be pretty mild.

    if kompany cant go, it will be Nico Lombaerts (like witsel, of zenit! :D). Lombaerts is a very good player, cerebral but lacks top class speed and strength.

    while lombaerts and van buynten are both good players, together they are perhaps not the best team, possessing the collective speed and agility of an oil tanker.

    not to mention on the kompany injury, considering its nature (muscle strain) it is entirely possible that he will start and have to be pulled off early

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