Belgium v USA Preview

Round of 16 | Tuesday 01 July | Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador | 22:00




Belgium and the USA could not have had more contrasting groups to progress from.

USA snuck through the much-vaunted Group of Death in what was a gruelling and taxing qualification.

Belgium were efficient in topping a group that really reflected an aberration in the pooling system.

Jurgen Klinsmann will be hoping to continue what has been a dismal tournament thus far for the European contingent, while Belgium attempt to deliver on their pre-tournament hype.

To Win (90mins)
Belgium 19/20
Draw 23/10
USA 3/1

BELGIUM

Mark Wilmot’s side were solid enough to progress easily through a fairly pedestrian group.

They lacked the dynamism many expected and made it through on the basis of stringent determination.

Thibaut Courtois still holds the rather astonishing accomplishment of having never lost an international game for Belgium.

He has a preternatural calmness between the sticks that bodes well for the evolution of Chelsea Football Club in the following years.

Anthony Vanden Borre will miss out with a foot injury while inspirational leader Vincent Kompany is also nursing an injury concern.

This will probably see young Alderweireld come in for this crucial encounter.

De Bruyne and Mertens have been excellent, particularly since the injury to instrumental playmaker Eden Hazard.

Belgium will look for a Herculean performance by the physically imposing figure of Marouane Fellaini.

His robust nature will be crucial in unsettling a USA side with a reputation for midfield firmness.

USA

There was something vaguely sadistic about the composition of Group G (especially considering the farcical structure of both Group F and Group H).

USA managed to make it through on the basis of a never-say-die work ethic that is best encapsulated in the figures of Beckerman and Jones.

Tim Howard has been the ‘Rock of Gibraltar’ while Besler and Johnson offer width.

Klinsmann hinted that Altidore may make an appearance at some stage having seemingly recovered from the injury that saw him miss the last two group matches.

DaMarcus Beasley, the old man of American football, has been absolutely sensational in his sweeper role and will need to be even better against a youthful Belgian side.

Clint Dempsey will hope to destabilise a potentially weakened defence and will need to be at his absolute best should the USA stand any chance.

Besler and Johnson will have to put pressure on the Belgian fullbacks and prevent them from monopolising possession.

Betting PredictionTo Qualify, Belgium 9/20
This is going to be a tight game, one that may even border on the lugubrious at times. Both sides will be tentative in attack and this should precipitate a tactical ‘Battle Royale’. I see this one taking in excess of ninety minutes to settle and the USA will start to feel the taxing exertion of Group G qualification during extra-time, handing the initiative to a slow-burning Belgium presence. The price isn’t huge but looks safe given the general disposition of the other Round of 16 encounters. 

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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