Belgium 2 USA 1: Player ratings as Chelsea man nets the winner

Belgium 2 USA 1: Player ratings as Romelu Lukaku scores the vital goal to send his side through after extra-time

By Ben Barker
Belgium
2
USA
1

Belgium

Thibaut Courtois A quiet night for the big stopper, but he did well when called upon, especially to the oft-far distance shots from Clint Dempsey’s boots. Got a finger to the USA goal, but let it slip into the net. Made a quality save with minutes remaining to see Belgium through. 7/10

Toby Alderweireld Made some important blocks down the right hand side but offered little in attack thanks to Vertonghen’s advanced role. 6

Daniel Van Buyten Had little defending to do, but managed to keep a hold on Dempsey for the most part. 6

Vincent Kompany Booked towards the end of the first half after a robust tackle, looked his usual composed self otherwise. Excellent distribution from the captain at the back. 8

Jan Vertonghen Spent a large portion of the 90 minutes in USA’s half, either on the edge of the box or overlapping Eden Hazard. The Tottenham man provided some excellent balls which his teammates failed to convert, and saw an audacious effort curl outside of the post. 8

Marouane Fellaini Fulfilled the box-to-box role well, but looked shaky. Shackled Bradley and tipped several headers into the path of Origi in the forward position. Really struggled to make the same sort of impact he had in the group games though. 7

Axel Witsel Faded as the game progressed. Had one good effort after being afforded too much space, but dragged it wide. Linked play between defence and attack but didn’t offer any individual brilliance. 6

Dries Mertens Had two efforts brilliantly saved before being withdrawn after an hour. Were it not for Howard’s heroics, and Mertens could have had a brace, but instead had to make way for Kevin Mirallas. The weakest of Belgium’s front four, but still put in a good shift. 7

Kevin De Bruyne Missed a great opportunity to give his side the lead after miscuing a shot early on, but made no mistake two minutes into extra-time, showing great composure to slot past Howard. His finishing was second to his running, and his link play with Eden Hazard will perhaps have Chelsea fans wondering what could have been, especially when he provided the assist for Lukaku’s goal. 9

Eden Hazard Marc Wilmots challenged Hazard to impose himself on this World Cup before the match, and it seemed like the winger was trying too hard to please his coach. While Hazard’s running was typically eye-catching, his finishing and creativity bordered on wasteful, going solo when looking for a team-mate would have been more beneficial. 7

Divock Origi The breathe of fresh air in the World Cup once again impressed. Lille’s youngster could have had one hattrick in the first half and another in the second were it not for Tim Howard in the opposition goal. Origi hit the bar with one header and forced several other top saves. He ran behind the lines, held up play and had plenty of efforts in an eye catching performance before being removed after 90 minutes. 8

Substitutes:

Kevin Mirallas Made an instant impact, running at opposition defenders and leaving them in his wake. His club mate Howard denied him a few times, but Mirallas’s attacking flair will be key to Belgium’s continuing progression in the tournament. 7

Romelu Lukaku The key change, as Marc Wilmots once again showed his tactical nous. Lukaku followed suit, offering strength and power to set up De Bruyne’s goal before the winger returned the favour and Lukaku finished beautifully at the near post. Had a better half an hour of extra time than all his previous tournament minutes. 8

Nacer Chadli Replaced Eden Hazard late on to a chorus of boos. N/A

USA

Tim Howard Brilliant, absolutely brilliant from the Everton stopper. Made saves from all angles, and yielded to nothing but extra-time. His tired defence let him down, but they were indebted to the bearded ‘keeper for the scores being even by that point. Defied his age by 10 years. 9

Fabian Johnson
Arguably the right-back of the tournament thus far, but his contribution was cut short when he went down clutching his hamstring after the half-hour. N/A

Omar Gonzalez Struggled to even run after normal time was played, but threw himself infront of everything. A fine performance from the USA’s centrebacks. 7

Matt Besler Another star performer in the USA backline. Battled for everything to the very end and did himself proud. Got dragged out for the first Belgium goal but it was a stellar showing from the 27 year old. 8

DaMarcus Beasley The left back ran up and down the pitch all day, defending stoutly and attacking with intent. The 32 year old left everything on the pitch. Fantastic. 7

Geoff Cameron Thrust into an unfamiliar midfield role, the Stoke man gave Fellaini a headache, but his distribution lacked any quality. 6

Graham Zusi A disappointing night for the winger ended with substitution. His crossing failed to find a man, and he really should have finished a great chance before the first half had finished. 5

Jermaine Jones The midfield maestro kept his side going to the bitter end, and could have salvaged something for the USA late on. He matched Witsel in his tackling ability and his great vision often lead to efforts on goal. Absolutely should have had the last say when he scuffed a shot past the post with Cortouis stranded. 7

Michael Bradley The sort of performance you’d expect from such an experienced head. Kept his calm when Belgium took a two goal lead, and his authoritative demeanour in the middle of the park very nearly took USA over the finish line. He can perhaps be criticised of holding onto the ball for too long, but fatigue was playing its part. 7

Alejandro Bedoya Couldn’t quite get up to his full blistering speed, but did rinse Van Buyten a few times. Spent more time tracking in defence, and was replaced in extra-time. 6

Clint Dempsey Won’t ever have a better chance to score than in the dying seconds, when a beautifully worked free-kick put him one-on-one with Cortouis. The Belgian keeper won the duel, but Dempsey will win the American plaudits. Probably his last World Cup. He made sure he’ll be remembered for it. 8

Substitutes:

DeAndre Yedlin The early replacement at right back showed no nerves, and attacked Vertonghen from the off. Struggled for fitness as the match wore on, and was lost by De Bruyne for the breakaway second goal. 6

Chris Wondolowski Missed an absolute sitter with the last kick of the 90, but was spared his blushes by the (albeit wrong) offside flag. Provided fresh legs for the USA when many had already collapsed. 7

Julian Green Earning just his third cap for his country, Green came on deep into extra time and jangled Belgian nerves across the globe. His volley should have been saved by Cortouis, but the goal gave the USA the impetus to provide us with one of the most enthralling and entertaining closing moments of a World Cup match. The Bayern Munich winger beat his man, but failed to find the crucial assist. 7

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