sport

Belgium battle past brave USA

Belgium required extra-time to claim a 2-1 win over a battling USA side and book a quarter-final date with Argentina.

An end-to-end encounter somehow ended goalless after 90 minutes, with Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku eventually settling the tie despite Julian Green stepping off the bench to set up a grandstand finish.

The best of the chances in normal time fell to Belgium, with the clearest dropping the way of teenage striker Divock Origi who could have netted inside the opening 40 seconds and saw a looping header crash off the top of the crossbar.

The United States had their moments as an attacking force, but it was to be dogged defending and some inspired goalkeeping from Tim Howard that kept them in the contest.

They remained level for 93 minutes, but the introduction of Lukaku's pace and power at the start of extra-time was to prove their undoing.

The Chelsea striker brushed aside Matt Besler on his way into the box and squared for former Stamford Bridge team-mate De Bruyne to work the ball onto his right foot and drill low into the bottom corner.

Lukaku then netted the second himself, racing onto a perfectly-weighted pass from De Bruyne to rattle a first-time effort past Howard at his near post.

The USA looked down and out at that stage, with physical and mental energy drained, but they somehow picked themselves up to half the deficit through Green's impressive volley and came agonisingly close in the dying stages to forcing a penalty shoot-out.

More to follow…