New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill believes the US will win today when they take on Belgium with a chance to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. From keys for the US, players to watch on Belgium, and a prediction, find out what Cahill, who we spoke with earlier today, believes the US need to do become one of eight remaining nations vying for soccer’s biggest prize. (FOLLOW TIM ON TWITTER HERE)
KEYS FOR THE UNITED STATES
I think the key for the US team is, when they seem to get the ball wide and attack the full backs and put crosses in for (Clint) Dempsey and the following in runners for the second ball and third man runners, they’ve shown what a threat that they can be.
As soon as that ball gets crossed, first second and third ball, you’ve seen the amount of trouble they can create. I’m confident that they can do that.
Also, making sure they don’t over play in the midfield. The few times they’ve been caught they’ve been punished and against a team like Belgium today, with their speed, they don’t want to be caught on the ball.
Overall I think set plays will play a massive part in the outcome of the match. I think they could be a telling factor today for America coming out on top.
PLAYERS TO WATCH ON BELGIUM
For me with (Romelu) Lukaku, making sure his back’s to goal and not facing the goal is a massive thing. He loves the ball in front of him, so anything that goes wide to (Eden) Hazard and players like that will be whipped in, and when he’s running forward he’s a problem. When he’s got his back to goal, he should be kept that away and not allowed to turn because as everyone knows, he does all his damage in the final third of the pitch, and mainly in the 18-yard-box.
When he has his back to goal, on his first touch I think the midfield should play on that and try and press on that, and obviously with not playing for a while, he’ll be a bit rusty, but you don’t want to give him confidence in the 18-yard-box.
Well I think the key is, I know (Michael) Bradley’s a fighter, and same with (Jermaine) Jones, but I think they really shouldn’t bite off (Fellaini). He’s very physical and at the same time, he likes to get his foot stuck in. He’s very strong in the battle, but (Fellaini’s) biggest strength that people don’t understand is his late runs and his heading ability. So for Jones and players like that on yellow cards, it’s just about being smart. He’s not going to kill you with a pass, but he will kill you with a header if he makes those runs in behind you.
Overall, he’s a very dangerous, dangerous player that could punish the Americans if they don’t mark him well.
IMPRESIONS OF MLS PLAYERS ON US TEAM
They’ve been outstanding players. I remember tweeting about a goal not too long ago, and I said that’s a goal made in the MLS. It was a cross from (Graham) Zusi that ended up finishing with (Clint) Dempsey, but (DeAndre) Yedlin created it and it was four or five MLS players that made the goal and it was a good moment because the MLS has shown what a force it can be within the league but also the world with the way these players are holding themselves.
I think the only way America will lose today is themselves, is mistakes. They’ve got a great outfit and the best thing about what America has inherited is a manager that believes. There might have been a few decisions where people thought, ‘what’s he doing,’ but everything he’s said he’s going to do, he’s delivered above and beyond whether anyone believed him or not.
But overall, I actually think America will win today, and that’s purely because I find Belgium a great team, but still very young and raw. When you look at it, it’s an element here where there this could be (the US’s) biggest chance to advance to the next round if they can cut out their mistakes.