SALVADOR, Brazil — Belgium defeated the United States by a 2-1 score on Tuesday, advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup and ending the hope of the U.S. to advance further than it did four years ago.
The loss came despite a fantastic performance for a U.S. veteran as well as a great moment from the youngest U.S. player to every take the field in a World Cup.
Though he did allow two goals, goalkeeper Tim Howard, playing in his third World Cup for the U.S., made 16 saves, a World Cup record. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Julian Green scored on his first touch of the match to pull the U.S. within in the 107th minute extra time.
But it was all for naught, as the U.S. could not find the equalizing goal in the final 13 minutes.
The U.S. was able to force extra time by playing Belgium to a 0-0 tie through the first 90 minutes. This was despite Belgium vastly outplaying the U.S. — the Belgians would ultimately out-shoot the U.S. 38-15 during the match.
The U.S. showed more signs of life in extra time, including a marvelous set piece that was started by Michael Bradley with a late free kick from about 30 yards out. Several U.S. players ran free in front of the net, but a shot never materialized.
Though it was a painful exit for the U.S., who lost to Ghana in the same stage in the 2010 World Cup, the 2014 World Cup wasn’t all for naught.
The U.S. men were able to advance out of the “Group of Death” that included Germany and Portugal, which were the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds in the entire tournament, respectively.
The U.S. was also able to exact revenge against Ghana, a team that had knocked them out of the previous three World Cups, by utilizing a late goal from substitute John Brooks to win 2-1.
The next World Cup will be played in 2018 in Russia.