BOSTON (CBS) – The US Men’s National Team advanced past the Group of Death and now face a tough, but young Belgium team on Tuesday in the Round of 16.
Kyle McCarthy of Fox Soccer joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones and Mike Flynn — filling in for the vacationing Toucher & Rich — to help preview the match.
One would think the United States and their 300+ million population would be the favorites over Belgium, a nation with just over 11 million people. But that’s simply not the case.
Belgium, the winner of Group H, stands as the favorite over the USMNT and are considered by many to be the darkhorse of this World Cup tournament, even though they haven’t played great up to this point.
“Belgium hasn’t hit top form yet. They have a lot of impressive pieces and they’ve got a lot of young talent, but they’re not quite cooking,” said McCarthy in reference to Belgium eking out wins over Algeria, Russia and South Korea. “They haven’t been tearing teams apart like you thought they would. [Group H] wasn’t the strongest of groups and they didn’t exactly impress going through it.”
McCarthy thinks the US can exploit a certain aspect of the Belgium team.
“I think if the US is able to stay tight defensively it could frustrate this young team and provide opportunities for them going forward. I like the US to win this game. If they stay tight on defense, do what they were able to do against Germany in the first half, and then start to get in the heads of this young Belgium side it’ll pose some problems. I think they are more of a team than Belgium is right now, and I think that’ll help them get through this game and reach the quarterfinals.”