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World Cup Daily: Gutsy US stars run Belgium close

| 02.07.2014

In The Headlines

Team USA played their way into the hearts and minds of football – or soccer – fans around the world with a gutsy performance against heavily-backed opponents Belgium.

Tim Howard set a new World Cup record for most saves with 15 in one of the most enthralling matches to be played out at this year’s tournament – ironically for US fans ending 0-0 at 90 minutes.

The US stopper has now been priced up at 12/1 to land the prestigious Golden Glove award and Ladbrokes is even offering odds of 50/1 that the Everton’ keeper is names Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2014!

Howard’s display prompted a flurry of tweets under the hashtag #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave and while most were funny, many are not safe for work so Ladbrokes contribution has included the latest of it’s three contributions below, but thinks the afternoon coffee break would be well spent checking out the rest.

The US looked dead and buried after Belgium secured a 2-0 lead in extra time through Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku but made the Red Devils sweat with a consolation goal that almost proved to be the catalyst America needed to take the game to penalties.

Soccer’s popularity has been steadily rising Stateside and is set to rocket after the heroics of the national team last night.

Fans of USMNT pack the Chicago Bears’ Soldier Field to cheer on Klinsmann’s side:

In the other of last night’s matches, Argentina once again failed to impress, waiting until two minutes before the end of extra time to put Switzerland to the sword.

Angel di Maria turned what was a woeful personal performance on its head by hitting the late winner to set up a quarter-final meeting with Belgium.

The non-England Camp

Germany defender Per Mertesacker defended those sides that have progressed while failing to impress and displayed his penchant for English slang in a recent interview.

Germany were given a fright by Algeria before squeezing into the last eight, much like Brazil, Holland, Argentina and Belgium, but the Arsenal centre-back seems unconcerned.

“Would you rather we played beautiful football but got knocked out?” he asked.

“Do you think just Mickey Mouse teams are in the last 16? All that matters is we’re in the quarter-finals.”

Injury List

Holland’s Nigel de Jong has been ruled out of the remainder of the World Cup after limping out of the Oranje’s 2-1 win over Mexico.

The Manchester United target is remaining with the squad in Brazil but is expected to require two to four weeks of treatment on a torn groin muscle.

Sergio Aguero remains a doubt for Argentina’s semi-final clash with Belgium, with La Albiceleste doctors monitoring Kun on a “day-to-day” basis.

And Brazil have played down fears over Neymar’s fitness by declaring that the Barca star will be ready to face Colombia despite suffering with the thigh and knee injuries he picked up against Chile.

In Other News

Belgium and Argentina’s narrow wins over USA and Switzerland respectively ensured that all eight group winners made it through to the quarter-finals for the first time in the history of the competition.

All eight were’ favourites in their respective second-round matches too and will have earned a decent return for anyone backing them.

With a £10 stake on the favourites in the next round – Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Holland – returning £141 it could pay to continue backing the market leaders all the way.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.