USA is playing against Belgium today in the last Round of 16 matches, and the fans are anticipating that their team would emerge as the winning team and continue down the bracket towards the FIFA World Cup 2014 Final. The teams are wary of their world-class opponent, while hoping to make history for their national football team by carrying on until absolute defeat or fufilling their dreams winning the World Cup championship.
The United States vs. Belgium game will begin at 1 p.m. PST and will be broadcasted through the ESPN network. The match can also be watched online through WatchESPN live stream at the link below (free for cable subscribers).
In the five head-to-head matches played, Belgium has defeated USA four times and lost only once. USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann encouraged his players to believe that they could win the FIFA World Cup.
"Every single day we're going to have on the knockout stage, can we do it? Yes we can. This is now one of the benchmarks. We want to be in the top ten, top 12 of the world one day. So if you want to be there, this is now the moment," he told FIFA.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard and Team USA Captain Clint Dempsey have performed exceptionally well in the World Cup, and have been instrumental in maintaining the overall team morale with goals blocked and scored during their drive past the "Group of Death."
"We've been playing some brilliant football," Howard, who has helped his Everton place fifth-place in the English Premier League in 2013-14, said, the FIFA reported. "We've been able to open some teams up. We're not world-beater yet, but we're standing toe-to-toe with some big teams."
When the Final Draw for Brazil 2014 was made in December, reactions in the American media were mostly pessimistic, including former defender-turned-commentator Alexi Lalas. Now, USA has reached the knockout round, trumping the critics. "The only way you can prove critics wrong is by going out there and doing what they say you can't do. We did that. We did it with grit and heart."
The teams will look to minimize the mistakes and capitalize any opportunities.
Howard warned his teammates of Belgium's Romelu Lukaku, who played for Chelsea and had spent the entire 2013-14 season at Everton. In reverse, Belgium's winger Kevin Mirallas said his team will need to pay close attention to Clint Dempsey, who struck twice at crucial moments in his early goal in the match against Ghana and late strike against Portugal.
Likewise, Mirallas and his team acknowledge that Howard is one of the top 10 goalkeepers in the world, who has allowed four goals, but came away with critical saves against Portugal and Germany in the World Cup.
A similar feature between the two teams is that many of the players are playing in the World Cup for the first time in their career. The older players in each team see the positivity in the younger players, such as the drive or hunger for the win (USA) and ability to listen to instructions and ready to put it into action (Belgium).
Belgium's veteran defender Daniel van Buyten, 36, said that Belgium's capacity to find solutions have much to do with the rigid focus on the moment at hand as opposed to what has come before or lies ahead.
"The most important thing is not to think about the future or let yourself get distracted," he told FIFA. "We'll have all the time in the world to pick over everything afterwards. The World Cup is happening now and we have to rise to the challenge."
Van Buyten expects his side to take up more open, attacking contests, beginning with their first Last Round of 16 game against the United States.
Marc Wilmots, Belgium's manager, said he is expecting to see Eden Hazard, winner of Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year for 2013-14, to rise up and reveal his full potential even though the Chelsea player has yet to score in Brazil. "I'm waiting for him to take hold of a match and impose himself. Even if he's still young to be doing that."
The highly anticipated match will begin at 1 p.m. PST and its live stream can be watched online at ESPN.