The U.S. has good reason to be confident against Belgium in the World Cup Round of 16.
The Belgians are a good team and the clear favourite, but they’re not the sort of juggernauts that the Brazilians, French, or Germans are.
Nate Silver gives the U.S. about a 41% chance of pulling the upset.
But there’s also good reason for Belgium to be favoured. The team is full of Champions League players. In addition, they destroyed the U.S. 4-2 in a friendly last May in Cleveland.
That game featured many of the players who will take the field in Salvador on Tuesday, with the notable exception of Michael Bradley. Belgian consistently burned the U.S. back line and took advantage of some failed clearances.
Kevin Mirallas scored in the sixth minute on a Tim Howard blunder:
After the U.S. tied it up at 1-1, the Belgians unleashed three goals in 15 minutes during the second half.
Christian Benteke, who’s injured for the World Cup, made it 2-1:
Maroune Fellaini made it 3-1:
Benteke made it 4-1:
Friendlies are friendlies, so this might not mean a thing.
Still, Belgium is a collection of brilliant individual players who have the potential to blow the U.S. out of the water, no matter how well they play.
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