In the build-up to this exciting encounter in the Round of 16, it’s safe to say the US were considered the underdogs – on paper at least, compared to the talent-loaded Belgian squad. Sports sites from around the globe reported that USA boss Jürgen Klinsmann was so confident his side would make it to the final, he asked his players to book their return flights home for July 13th. Unfortunately for them, they now may have to watch the rest of the tournament in Brazil from the stands…

The highlight of the match had to be the brave goalkeeping of Everton and US goalkeeper Tim Howard. His Barclay’s Premier League experience paid-off in spades as he was rock solid in goal. He ended the match with a phenomenal World Cup record of 15 saves.

Howard was able to keep the game in a deadlock as the Belgian Red Devils kept on attacking with a whopping 17 shots on target. Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Divock Origi and Jan Vertonghen all played a part in creating new chances, but none were able to get through Howard’s web.

The excitement went fever pitch in extra time when both teams scored a total three goals in 15 minutes. Howard finally conceded two goals off youngster De Bruyne and striker Romelu Lukaku, who had a fantastic season on-loan at Everton from Chelsea. De Bruyne is another Blues star who may have impressed boss Jose Mourinho with his crucial winner.

After Lukaku scored the second, Belgium looked set to go through with ease, until a lofted through ball from American midfielder Michael Bradley to substitute Julian Green saw him blast a rocket into the opposing team’s net. The US came very close to taking the game to penalties when a very near-chance by Clint Dempsey was saved by Courtois, who himself has enjoyed a fine season on-loan at Atletico Madrid (also from Chelsea).

For the first 90 minutes Belgium appeared in total control, and the only opponent they couldn’t seem to get through was goalkeeper Tim Howard. But ultimately, the extra time pressure provided them with just the thrust they needed to send the USA packing…

The Red Devils will now face Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the quarter-finals. Messi once again proved himself crucial in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Switzerland, but can he continue his sparkling form against a more organized and better coordinated Belgian attack?

We’ll find out soon enough…