The U.S. will play Belgium for a place in the quarterfinals of soccer’s World Cup, a day after Germany takes on Algeria in the round of 16.
Algeria completed the lineup for the knockout phase yesterday with a 1-1 draw against Russia that took the African country beyond the group stage for the first time in four attempts. Belgium, playing with 10 men, beat South Korea 1-0.
In yesterday’s early games, Germany beat the U.S. 1-0, a result that sent both teams into the next round at the expense of Ghana and Portugal. Germany won Group G and the U.S. finished in second place on goal difference ahead of Portugal, which defeated Ghana 2-1 on a late goal by Cristiano Ronaldo.
“It’s huge for us getting out of this group,” U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said in a televised interview. “Everybody said, ‘You have no chance.’ We took that chance and we move on and now we really want to prove a point.”
The U.S. will play Belgium on July 1 in Salvador and Algeria will take on Germany in Porto Alegre on June 30.
There are no matches today. The Round of 16 starts tomorrow when Brazil meets Chile in Belo Horizonte and Colombia plays Uruguay -- which will be missing forward Luis Suarez because of a ban for biting -- in Rio de Janeiro.
Alexander Kokorin’s headed goal gave Russia the lead after six minutes in Curitiba, Brazil, and Algeria tied it in the 60th minute, also with a header. A green laser light darted across the face and torso of Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev before Algeria took the free kick on which Islam Slimani scored.
“In my career, I’ve never seen a World Cup at this level,” Russia coach Fabio Capello said. “The quality is absolutely incredible, the pace is so intense. If you make the slightest mistake, you pay for it.”
Belgium, whose midfielder Steven Defour was shown a red card just before halftime for stomping on Kim Shin-wook, beat South Korea on a 78th-minute goal by Jan Vertonghen.
With Nigeria qualifying from Group F, Africa has two countries in the second round for the first time in tournament history.
“We played a heroic match and we deserved to qualify,” Algerian coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. “We’ve received support from all over the Arabic world -– and that has been wonderful. The people here in Brazil also appreciate our sincerity and enthusiasm, and I’m proud of that.”
Germany defeated the U.S. on Thomas Mueller’s goal 10 minutes into the second half in rain-soaked Recife on Brazil’s east coast. It was the striker’s fourth goal at the tournament.
Portugal went ahead when Ghana defender John Boye knocked the ball into his own goal in the 31st minute in Brasilia. Asamoah Gyan tied it in the 55th minute to become the top-scoring African in World Cup history and World Player of the Year Ronaldo got the winner from close range in the 80th minute.
The U.S. is in the round of 16 at consecutive editions of the World Cup for the first time. The Americans have a 38 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals, according to projections by Bloomberg Sports.
“We have seen the first half of the U.S. game,” Belgium’s Kevin Mirallas said. “It’s a very compact team. It doesn’t give space to the opponents.”
Also yesterday, Suarez was banned for four months and suspended for Uruguay’s next nine international matches by the sport’s governing body for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during a 1-0 win on June 24 that eliminated the European team.
The 27-year-old striker will miss the rest of the World Cup, including Uruguay’s match tomorrow against Colombia. He also will sit out 20 games for his club, Liverpool, the second year in a row that a suspension has caused him to miss the start of the English Premier League season for biting.
Uruguay said it will appeal the suspension, though Suarez won’t be permitted to play against Colombia even during an appeal, FIFA said during a news conference in Rio de Janeiro. During the four-month ban Suarez is prohibited from entering any soccer stadium.