Belgium keen to fire against tricky US

Belgium keen to fire against tricky US

The United States' declaration of their attacking intentions may awaken the more thrill-seeking instincts of unbeaten but so far underwhelming Belgium as they prepare for "war" in Tuesday's last-16 World Cup clash.

The Belgians came through the group stage with three wins from three against Algeria, Russia and South Korea but failed to hit the heights expected of their exciting, star-studded squad with somewhat lukewarm performances and late shows.

However with talents likes Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku there is time for that to change and the Europeans will be a stiff test for a US side that surprised many by beating off 2010 quarterfinalists Ghana and drawing Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to qualify alongside Germany in Group G.

The American's mix of organisation and physical fitness has been improved by coach Juergen Klinsmann's focus on quick passing moves that have sharpened their attacking edge, and it is that high energy mantra that could unsettle Belgium. "Physically they are very strong. We are preparing for a war," Belgium coach Marc Wilmots told reporters. A fast start could be key to the progress of the US who will have noticed that Belgium took until at least the 70th minute to score in all three of their group matches.

While the Belgians may have stuttered slightly, an unbeaten qualifying campaign extended to their first three World Cup games is enviable and does support their ranking as fifth favourites with bookmakers going into the tournament.

A defence possessing Thibault Courtois in goal and dominant centre half Vincent Kompany have conceded just once in Brazil – a penalty to Algeria – and despite their 'dark horse' tag appear unperturbed by a void of anticipated flair in their displays.  For the US striker Jozy Altidore is expected to be on the bench after resuming training following a hamstring injury but Klinsmann is unlikely to tinker too much with his line-up.

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