The U.S. will face Belgium at 4 p.m. today in the Sweet 16 of the World Cup.
A win will see the U.S. to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002 and the second time in team history in the tournament’s modern format.
It may be the last World Cup game for several U.S. stars, including forward Clint Dempsey, fullback DaMarcus Beasley and goalie Tim Howard, who are in their 30s.
This will be a game of contrasts.
The U.S. has yet to play well for 90-plus minutes in its three World Cup games – a win over Ghana, tie to Portugal and loss to Germany — but is greater than the sum of its parts.
In contrast, Belgium is full of standouts in European leagues, but has yet to play up to its potential in this World Cup in wins over Algeria, Russia and South Korea.
The U.S. may get key player Jozy Altidore back from the torn hamstring he sustained in the opening minutes of the opening game against Ghana. It would be a surprise to see him on the field, considering what’s riding on the