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Belgium overcomes US

Thursday, July 03, 2014

SALVADOR, Brazil - Extra time goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku sent Belgium into the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 28 years with a 2-1 win over the United States.

American keeper Tim Howard had made a string of fine saves to keep Marc Wilmots' men at bay during the 90 minutes in Salvador.

However, he was finally beaten by De Bruyne's angled drive after good work from substitute Lukaku and De Bruyne then returned the favour to allow Lukaku to slam past his Everton teammate Howard.

The US got back in the game two minutes into the second-half of extra time when substitute Julian Green volleyed home and only a fine save from Thibaut Courtois prevented Clint Dempsey from taking the game to penalties moments later.

But Belgium held on to set up a rematch of their 1986 semi-final defeat to Argentina in Brasilia on Sunday.

"We had around 15 goalscoring chances and deserved the victory," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said. "But we were suddenly scared when the US scored the goal for 2-1."

USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann described Howard's performance as "phenomenal".

"He had an absolutely amazing match, you can give him the biggest compliments in the world. He kept us in the game over the 120 minutes."

Lille's 19-year-old striker Divock Origi had been brought into the side at Lukaku's expense after impressing as a substitute in all three of Belgium's Group H wins and he was denied within the opening minute by Howard's outstretched leg after racing onto Kevin de Bruyne's through ball.

Belgium's pace on the counter-attack was a constant threat throughout the match and they should have gone in front when Jan Vertonghen fed De Bruyne, but having cut inside to open up the goal he slotted wide at the near post.

Belgium started strongly in the second-half with Vertonghen producing another fine cross from the left that De Bruyne and Origi failed to turn home.

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