US World Cup ends with 2-1 OT loss to Bel­gium

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

SAL­VADOR, Brazil (AP) — They cap­tured the eyes and hearts of a sud­denly awak­ened soc­cer na­tion, who gath­ered in un­prece­dented num­bers to watch the world’s game.

But the end of the ride came at the ex­act same point as four years ago: with an over­time loss in the World Cup’s round of 16.

Kevin De Bruyne fi­nally beat goal­keeper Tim Howard in the third minute of ex­tra time, Romelu Lukaku scored 12 min­utes later to give Bel­gium a two-goal lead, and the Red Devils hung on for a 2-1 vic­tory Tues­day.

“It’s heart­break­ing,” Howard said. “I don’t think we could have given it more.”

Be­fore ex­it­ing, the U.S. showed the spunk that cap­tured Amer­ica’s at­ten­tion. Ju­lian Green, at 19 the youngest player on the U.S. ros­ter, stuck out his right foot to vol­ley in Michael Bradley’s pass over the de­fense in the 107th minute, two min­utes af­ter en­ter­ing the game.

They nearly tied it up in the 114th, when Clint Dempsey peeled off the ball and was stopped point-blank by goal­keeper Thibaut Cour­tois af­ter be­ing fed by Bradley on a free kick.

But it wasn’t enough, and U.S. play­ers fell to the field at the fi­nal whis­tle in their all-white uni­forms like so many crum­pled tis­sues.

“You get to this point and these games are al­ways about a play here and play there,” Bradley said.

The Amer­i­cans ad­vanced from a dif­fi­cult first-round group that in­cluded Ger­many, Por­tu­gal and Ghana to reach the knockout rounds of con­sec­u­tive World Cups for the first time. Four years ago, they were elim­i­nated in South Africa by Ghana 1-0 on a goal in the third minute of over­time.

Fans who had made the trek south of the equa­tor chant­ing “I be­lieve that we will win!” could hardly be­lieve they lost, ex­tend­ing a World Cup win­less streak against Euro­pean na­tions to nine games over 12 years.

The crowd of 51,227 at Arena Fonte Nova ap­peared to be about one third pro-U.S., with 10 per­cent back­ing the Bel­gians and the rest neu­tral. Back home, mil­lions watched across the United States in of­fices, homes and pub­lic gath­er­ings that in­cludes a huge crowd in Chicago’s Sol­dier Field.

AP Photo/Felipe Dana

United States’ Jer­maine Jones walks off the pitch at the end of the ex­tra time dur­ing the World Cup round of 16 soc­cer match be­tween Bel­gium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Sal­vador, Brazil, Tues­day, July 1, 2014. Bel­gium held on to beat US 2-1 in ex­tra time.

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