EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

July 2, 2014

World Cup Soccer: Extra difficult to swallow

SALVADOR, Brazil — They captured the eyes and hearts of a suddenly awakened soccer nation, who gathered in unprecedented numbers to watch the world’s game.

But the end of the ride came at the exact same point as four years ago: with a loss in extra time in the World Cup’s round of 16.

Belgium scored twice in extra time then held on for a 2-1 win yesterday afternoon.

“It’s heartbreaking,” goalkeeper Tim Howard said. “I don’t think we could have given it more.”

Howard, playing the finest game of his career, stopped a dozen shots with his legs and arms to keep the Americans even through regulation and force an additional 30 minutes. He wound up with 16 saves — the most in the World Cup since 1966.

Before exiting, the U.S. showed the spunk that captured America’s attention. Julian Green, at 19 the youngest player on the U.S. roster, stuck out his right foot to volley in Michael Bradley’s pass over the defense in the 107th minute, two minutes after entering the game.

They nearly tied it up in the 114th, when former New England Revolution star Clint Dempsey peeled off the ball and was stopped point-blank by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois after being fed by Bradley on a free kick.

But it wasn’t enough, and U.S. players fell to the field at the final whistle in their all-white uniforms like so many crumpled tissues.

“I think they made their country proud with this performance,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said.

The Americans advanced from a difficult first-round group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana to reach the knockout rounds of consecutive World Cups for the first time. Four years ago, they were eliminated in South Africa by Ghana 1-0 on a goal in the third minute of extra time.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Local Sports Videos
Sports Videos
Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Tiger Woods: 1 on 1 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp Tony Romo will be a full-go for camp Teammate's Advice For Johnny Manziel & Josh Gordon - @TheBuzzeronFox Helfrich praises Mariota's commitment to improve Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent First impressions of Giants' new up-tempo offense Athletic Gaines: Where LeSean McCoy, Kenjon Barner, and more prepare for NFL season
Boston Sports
Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Pedroia on Lester: ‘It would be tough to see him in another uniform’ Farrell announces Workman will start in place of Lester Gasper vs Tanguay: Is Lester to blame for current situation? Mike Carp speaks out on wanting to leave the Red Sox Shaughnessy: Sox fans deserve to be mad if Sox trade Lester Ty Law: Revis may get Pats ‘over hump’ Ortiz fires back at Tampa Bay Ray’s Chris Archer Curran Camp Observations: Pats Veteran Defensive players excited to be back together 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? McNabb: Two games is not acceptable for me Ortiz, Price Feud Is Upsetting To Children - @TheBuzzeronFOX MLB Trade Deadline Talk: Price, Stanton, Kemp