Belgians into World Cup quarter-finals
01 July 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Jan Vertonghen had a busy night as Belgium reached the World Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 win over USA after extra time on Tuesday evening.
Defender Jan played the full 120 minutes at left-back, while Nacer Chadli went on as an extra time substitute to help the Red Devils see out the round of 16 contest – the States having set up a grandstand finish when they halved Belgium’s two-goal lead with 13 minutes left.
Marc Wilmots’ side proved strong enough in the end, though, with Jan once again in the thick of the action at both ends of the field.
First half attacks by Fabian Johnson and his replacement, DeAndre Yedlin, tested the 27-year-old’s resolve, while he also got forward on numerous occasions and sent in a series of dangerous crosses.
One ball in found Kevin De Bruyne, whose resulting effort went wide, another sweeping delivery evaded two onrushing attackers on its way across the face of goal and a third cross would have reached Marouane Fellaini unmarked at the back post, but for a last-ditch interception.
Jan continued to cause USA problems down the left while standing his ground at the back during the second half, before extra time goals from De Bruyne and substitute Romelu Lukaku appeared to have rubber-stamped their side's progress into the competition’s last eight.
The States had other ideas, however, as Julian Green volleyed home shortly after the start of the second period of extra time, with the much-fancied European side forced to work hard to retain their lead in the closing stages.
Nacer replaced Eden Hazard with nine minutes left as Belgium avoided any late slip-ups to seal their progress. Mousa Dembele was an unused substitute.
Belgium’s win means we have five players involved in the quarter-finals of the tournament – Jan, Nacer and Mousa being joined by Hugo Lloris of France and Paulinho of Brazil.
The latter two are in action on Friday, France taking on Germany in their quarter-final clash at 5pm before Brazil face Colombia at 9pm.
Belgium have a date with Argentina on Saturday at 5pm.