The United States will play Group H winner Belgium in the World Cup Round of 16 on Tuesday, July 1 in Salvador, Brazil at 4 p.m. ET. Belgium earned that opportunity after winning Group H, sealing it with a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday. Algeria also advanced from Group H, filling out the Round of 16.
This was always the most likely matchup for the United States if they were able to escape their so-called Group of Death, but it's not looking quite as daunting as it may have looked when the draw was first released.
Yes, Belgium are still the band of lovable youngsters just bursting with talent and ready to take the world by storm. But it's starting to look like it might be a little early to declare this the beginning of the Belgium domination.
Belgium essentially did just enough to win all three of their group stage games and really didn't look particularly interested in scoring until the final third of each match. Against Algeria, Belgium actually played more than 40 minutes from behind after allowing a first-half goal. They needed a pair of late goals to claim all three points. The Russia match was even more underwhelming, as the team tapped as the most exciting in the tournament seemed intent on boring Russia to death. It wasn't until Divock Origi scored in the 88th minute that Belgium were able to punch their ticket into the Round of 16. The South Korea match wasn't any more impressive, even though Belgium pulled out the win despite playing about half the game a man down. The winner again came late, this time in the 77th minute when Jan Vertonghen slotted away a sitter from a rebound.
While winning any group is something worth applauding -- especially with three straight wins -- it is worth noting that this is a team full of players who are relatively inexperienced at the international level. Daniel Van Buyten was the only player to have played in a major international tournament before this one as Belgium had missed the past two World Cup and past three European Championships.