Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thoughts/Prediction: USA vs. Belgium

For most Americans, Belgium is that place with Brussels which they think might be a name for a vegetable they hated as a kid or they might have heard something on the news about how it's the Capitol of the EU. (It's not, because the EU HAS no official capitol but it's as close as the Euros are going to get.)  For most Euros, Belgium is the traditional place where France and Germany hash out their differences. Mostly though the Belgians are famous for one thing. Inventing what is now known as the French Fry. Of course, in Belgium, they put mayonnaise on theirs (which is actually preferable to ketchup I promise).

In football, most Americans, even the so-called "hard core" soccer fans don't pay much attention to the Jupiler League or even realize it exists. But exist it does and while it's glory days seem firmly in the rear view mirror there's still a ton of talent developed there which is usually swept up in fairly quick fashion by the more wealthy leagues in England, France, Italy and Spain.

Unfortunately, Belgium enters this game in front of a backdrop of political turmoil on the home front and without the services of top mid-fielder Steven DeFour.  The latter is especially good for the USMNT because they tend to struggle against teams that have brilliant control and possession throughout the midfield. (Think Germany Light)

With all things USMNT today's game is going to be determined by two things: 

1. Can they control the ball AT ALL in the mid-field?
2. Can they score enough?

With DeFour out and Kompany possibly having health issues I think it's fairly safe to say that the US has a much better chance at winning this game than the game w/Germany.  That said, I think the Belgians are just that much better and their superior play in the midfield will carry the day and lead them to a 1-0 win.

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