Another round-of-16 opportunity for the United States. Will this turn out different than four years ago against Ghana?
My story looks at the U.S. upset prospects against Belgium’s Red Devils. With a victory, the Americans would move to the quarterfinals Saturday (noon ET) in Brasilia against Argentina or Switzerland.
Post colleague Rick Maese profiles DaMarcus Beasley, the first U.S. player to appear in four World Cups.
Here’s what the front page of the Sports section looks like:
Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET.
Venue: Salvador’s Arena Fonte Nova, located in a small ravine adjacent to the picturesque Tororo Dam.
TV: ESPN, Univision.
ESPN announcers: Ian Darke, Taylor Twellman.
Referee: Djamel Haimoudi of Algeria. [Pregame kerfuffle]
Game-time forecast: 80 degrees, humidity making it feel like 90, chance of rain. [Accuweather details]
Previous meeting: Belgium won, 4-2, on May 29, 2013, in Cleveland.
Yellow card status: Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Omar Gonzalez are carrying one apiece. Another booking today (and U.S. passage) would result in a suspension for the quarterfinal. (Single yellow cards are not cleared until after the quarterfinals, so a second yellow in the quarters does mean a player would miss the semis.)
Penalty kick outlook: The Americans have not been involved in a tiebreaker since the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup final against Panama at Giants Stadium, a 3-1 triumph with Kasey Keller in goal and successful attempts by Santino Quaranta, Landon Donovan and Brad Davis. In seven shootouts, the United States holds a 4-3 record, most famously defeating Mexico in the 1995 Copa America quarterfinals in Uruguay.