Belgium strike in extra time to sink U.S

Tue Jul 1, 2014 7:12pm EDT
 
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By Neil Maidment

SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) - Extra-time goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku sealed a thrilling 2-1 victory for Belgium over a spirited United States on Tuesday and set up a World Cup quarter-final clash with Argentina.

After dominating normal time and being frustrated by an inspired Tim Howard in the U.S. goal, De Bruyne struck in the 93rd minute, collecting a loose ball before turning and firing home an angled shot from seven meters.

In a pulsating extra-time, substitute striker Lukaku powered home a second on 105 minutes after a clever De Bruyne pass before Julian Green's neat volley ensured a tense finish in which Clint Dempsey almost sneaked an equalizer.

"We had about 15 chances, we were controlling the game I think it is largely deserved even though at the end we conceded one," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots told reporters.

"My players reached their limits to qualify. I said fresh legs would be important today and that is how it was. Now the whole of Belgium can celebrate."

It could have been very different for the Belgians had U.S. substitute Chris Wondolowski not horribly skewed wide from five meters in the dying seconds of normal time to seal what would have been a smash and grab victory.

"It was heart-breaking. We left it all out there but we lost to a really good team. It hurts but hats off to Belgium they were fantastic," Howard said in a televised interview. "Sometimes when you give your best it doesn't come off. We put them under real pressure at the end and fell short but it was an unbelievable night and we have an incredible group of players."

Belgium enjoyed nearly all the possession and looked the more dangerous side throughout as the U.S. were forced to set up camp outside their own penalty area and look to attack on the break.   Continued...

 
Belgium's Vincent Kompany (C, red) shakes hands with Jermaine Jones of the U.S. after their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Fonte Nova arena in Salvador July 1, 2014. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci