World Cup 2014 - Brad backing USA
01 July 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Brad Friedel insists the USA have a fighting chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the World Cup against Belgium - including three of his Spurs team-mates - tonight.
The teams meet in the last 16 of the tournament in Salvador, kick-off 9pm UK.
Capped 82 times by the US, including appearances at the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cups, Brad has been out in Brazil as his compatriots progressed through a tough Group G to finish second behind Germany and secure this clash against Belgium.
Jan Vertonghen, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele have all featured for Belgium with Jan captaining the team and scoring the winner against South Korea to secure top spot in Group H.
“As with most games in the tournament, the US are going to go into it as marginal underdogs,” said Brad, who has been a regular pundit on BBC.
“The star quality that Belgium possess probably outweighs our star quality, however, I’ve not seen this Belgium team perform how everyone expected them to so far in the tournament.
“They’ve got results and have been resilient, difficult to score against, but I think people were anticipating seeing a lot of flair from them so with that in mind, I think it’s a game either team can win and the US definitely has a chance to progress.”
As you’d expect, Brad has kept a close eye on USA’s progress. “Some of the games - and rightly so because of the tough group we were in - weren’t going to be smooth sailing, weren’t going to be all about silky football.
“At times our backs were up against the wall. Against Ghana, I don’t think we possessed the ball more than 40 per cent (it was 62-38 after 90 minutes) but we defended resiliently.
“In the Portugal game we started and finished on the back foot but had a good period in the game when we scored twice.
“The Germany game was a different story as Germany dominated without really penetrating our goal too much, but possession wise, they bossed the majority of it, but they will do that to most teams.”
Despite having Jan, Mousa and Nacer in the Belgium squad, there was no room for Spurs sentiment ahead of the tie.
“The best-case scenario for me would be for the US to win, but for all three of our Belgian players to play well, that would be ideal for me!” added Brad.
“When you are born and raised in a country, that’s where your allegiance lies, and my allegiance will be with the US to win.”