Keys for U.S. to beat Belgium
What the USMNT must do to advance past the round of 16
Belgium has talent all over the field and a roster including Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany and Thibaut Courtois that's good enough to intimidate any team in the tournament. However, Belgium has also yet to be tested to its full potential and has struggled to collectively find an offensive rhythm in both World Cup qualifying games and during the tournament itself.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has proved that it can remain competitive with the best teams in the world for an entire game, but it has not fully been able to impose its will on any particular opponent in the World Cup so far. Belgium is not invincible, but there are certain aspects of this round-of-16 matchup that the U.S. must take advantage of in order to move on.
Here are my keys to the U.S. advancing past Belgium and into the quarterfinal round:
Belgium managed just four combined goals against Group H opponents Algeria, Russia and South Korea, and at times looked disjointed in its attacks. The team also underwhelmed in UEFA World Cup qualifying with just 18 goals scored in its 10 games (Germany led UEFA with 36 goals).
Still, Belgium is a team that can score in bunches and is aggressive in running at defenders in the attacking third. Belgium attackers will look to dribble past the U.S. side more than Germany did. As such, one-on-one defending will be critical for the United States if the Yanks are to slow down the opposition.
To read the rest of Adrian Melville's keys to the U.S. national team advancing to the World Cup quarterfinals, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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