Preview of USA vs Belgium

Here are some things I think you should know before the USA/Belgium game.

- I'm already tired of hearing that the USA "backed in" to the round of 16. It's as if those first two games against Ghana and Portugal didn't count. Plain and simple, USA didn't let Germany blow them out, Portugal did. Case closed.

- Omar Gonzalez played good enough last game to keep Geoff Cameron on the bench, especially after his performance against Portugal. I would entertain the idea of bringing Cameron in around the 75th minute if the USA has a lead.

- The referee for the game is from Algeria. As in, Algeria, the team that the USA elimated from the 2010 World Cup. Don't be surprised if a few calls go against the USA. FIFA remains one of the most corrupt organizations in the sporting world.

- What's going on with Michael Bradley? I've read pieces that suggest he should be benched but I wouldn't go that far. He's always been the glue on this team and at best he's been mediocre so far in this World Cup. Let's hope he's been saving everything for this game.

- If Tim Howard wants to play in the next four World Cups, let him. I still haven't seen a better save than the one-handed save he put over the bar on the rebound shot in the Portugal game.

He made his debut with the USMNT in 2002 and has rarely disappointed. Howard also suffers from Tourette's Syndrome, a condition he's overcome to be one of the best goal keepers in the world.

- Eden Hazard is a name you should know. He's arguably/likely the best Belgium player and plays for Chelsea in the English Premier League. Hazard is an amazing, creative playmaker who can make an impact, likely on an assist or the pass leading to the assist. He's also capable of scoring but hopefully that won't happen.

- The USA are underdogs according to the odds at Bovada. With soccer betting (you can find different wagers) you typically bet on one team or the other or a tie. Right now the website has USA+260, a tie +250 and Belgium +105. Those are based on the results of regulation, not the end result.

- Jozy Altidore returning to the lineup could be more bad than good. Should he start, it's pretty clear he won't be close to 100 percent. He may not start but could be brought in for a sub. Should that happen there's the chance that he gets subbed in, aggravates the injury and has to leave, there's two wasted subs. The USA does need to have another striker up front with Clint Dempsey and play a more attacking style of soccer than they did against Germany.

- The Brad Davis experiment was cute but it didn't work. Julian Green and Mikkel (Mix) Diskerud are the only two field players to not see any game action. Don't be surprised if Mix gets his chance.

- Qatar, where the 2022 World Cup will be, has a high temperature of 111-117 degrees Fahrenheit this week. Players better hope global warming doesn't really exist. Also, smart decision, FIFA.

- Unfortunately, this game could be the last for some of the players on this 23-man roster. DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones will all be at least 35-years-old for the next World Cup. Field players typically don't play for their national team at that age.

- And here is another cool hype video:

- Prediction: the heart says USA 2 - Belgium 1. The head says Belgium 2 - USA 1. What say you?


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