2014 World Cup: 5 Reasons Why USMNT Can Beat Belgium

2014 World Cup: 5 Reasons Why USMNT Can Beat Belgium

klinsmann2
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It wasn’t always pretty, but the USMNT accomplished their first goal of the 2014 World Cup by getting out of the Group of Death. The next step for them is a Round of 16 game against Belgium. Once again, many are expecting the Americans to be eliminated, but here are five reasons why the U.S. has a chance to beat Belgium and advance to the World Cup quarterfinals.

5. The Pressure is Off

Jurgen Klinsmann
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5. The Pressure is Off

Jurgen Klinsmann
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The American players never have to hear the words Group of Death ever again, and that will be such a relief. After surviving that group, it can only get easier, even when playing a talented Belgium side. The pressure of the Group Stage is gone, and the U.S. can now just focus on one opponent and put everything else in their back of their mind, and that clarity will be quite beneficial for Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

4. The Jones-Beckerman Midfield Duo

USMNT World Cup Kyle Beckerman
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4. The Jones-Beckerman Midfield Duo

USMNT World Cup Kyle Beckerman
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The duo of Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman was key to the U.S. advancing out of the group, and they'll continue to be important. Jones and Beckerman have been able to control the midfield and done a great job of breaking up the opposing team's attack. It has been glamorous, but it's been necessary, and Jones and Beckerman continuing to do the dirty work will give the U.S. a chance against Belgium.

3. Team Cohesion

Jermaine Jones celebrates scoring for USMNT against Portugal
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

3. Team Cohesion

Jermaine Jones celebrates scoring for USMNT against Portugal
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Belgium has more individual talent than the Americans, but they have not played well collectively as a team, whereas team cohesion is something that the U.S. definitely has working in its favor. American soccer is about being more than the some of your parts, and in that sense, the U.S. has a chance to topple a more talented opponent.

2. Michael Bradley Can (and Will) Play Better

Azerbaijan v United States
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2. Michael Bradley Can (and Will) Play Better

Azerbaijan v United States
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It's amazing that the U.S. was able to advance despite Michael Bradley playing far from his best, but if the U.S. is to get past Belgium, they'll need more out of their best player. He hasn't been as bad as some would have you believe, but he can definitely play a lot better than he has. Now that the pressure of the Group of Death is off, Bradley may be able to relax and play at his best, and if that happens, the Americans like their chances.

1. Tim Howard

Tim Howard 2014 World Cup
Winslow Townson - USATODAY Sports

1. Tim Howard

Tim Howard 2014 World Cup
Winslow Townson - USATODAY Sports

He hasn't been perfect, but Tim Howard has made some outstanding saves over the past three games, and the Americans should feel comfortable with him in net. Howard is capable of making some phenomenal saves, and he's likely to come up big for the U.S. when they need him, keeping the Americans in the game and giving them a realistic chance of beating Belgium.

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  • HannahMoore2014

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