Tale of the Tape: US Loss to Belgium vs. Loss to Ghana

The United States’ run in the World Cup came to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday, with a 2-1 extra time loss to Belgium in the Round of 16. Tim Howard called the loss “heartbreaking”. But is it more heartbreaking than their 2010 loss to Ghana (also in extra time and also in the Round of 16)?

2014 vs. Belgium
2010 vs. Ghana
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
How They Lost
Winner The Belgians scored twice in the first extra time session. Julian Green scored early in the second session to give the US hope, but the Americans missed multiple golden opportunities to tie, including two point-blank looks that were either saved or missed high.
Allowed a gorgeous goal in the 93rd minute to fall behind 2-1. Only pressured Ghana in the final minute of extra time.
Overall Performance
The Belgians dominated play for the entire game. Without Howard’s unreal 16-save day, the US loses 3- or 4-0. They were lucky to even be in extra time.
Winner The US controlled play throughout the second half, being unable to find the go-ahead goal that they deserved
Best Chance to Tie
Winner Off a set piece, the US drew up a perfect play to stun Belgium. Three quick touches and Clint Dempsey was all alone in front, but Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois saved the day. Seven out of 10 times that’s a goal.
In the final moments of the 120th minute, Dempsey had a shot blocked inside the box. The US would miss twice on long-range shots before the game ended. Fairly anti-climactic.
America’s Newest Hero
Winner Tim Howard’s 16 saves were the most in a World Cup match since 1966. His account (@TimHowardGK) was mentioned over 1.8 times on Twitter, while the name Tim Howard was brought up in one out of every five tweets.
Landon Donovan cemented his status as a US legend the game before against Algeria. No one entered folk lore from this contest.
Reactions Back Home
Winner Soldier Field in Chicago and AT&T Stadium each had viewing parties of over 20,000 people. TV ratings hit all-time highs for soccer. There were over nine million tweets about the game. America is in full soccer frenzy, making the loss a harder pill to swallow.
At the time, the over 19 million who watched the loss set a US television record for soccer. But there were not hundreds of thousands lining up across the country to watch together in stadiums, and Twitter was not quite the staple in society it is now.

The Winner Is

Winner 2014 vs. Belgium
4 out of 5

Final Verdict: 2014 vs. Belgium (4 of 5) Although outplayed, America was in overwhelming support of the players. The failed comeback in the waning moments of the game made the loss all the more difficult to take. To quote Howard, it was “heartbreaking”.


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