Thanks to some help from Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the United States advanced to the Round of 16 despite a 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday in Recife, and now the runner-up in Group G will take on the winner of Group H.
The winner of Group H will be determined later Thursday, but the U.S. will take on either Belgium or Algeria on Tuesday, July 1 at 4 pm ET in Salvador, Brazil.
Both Belgium and Algeria have their strengths, but the U.S. matches rather well with both sides. U.S. coach Jürgen Klinsmann would likely prefer to face Algeria, the team the Americans defeated in a group match in 2010 that sent Team USA to the Round of 16. Belgium is a dark-horse candidate to win the World Cup but hasn't looked particulary sharp in its first two games.
Clinging to first place before a matchup against South Korea, Belgium won its first two group games largely due to its bench. Star attackers Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard have yet to score a goal, but Belgium started the World Cup with an incredible comeback against Algeria.
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini, along with forward Dries Mertens came on in the 70th and started a 20-minute rally to erase a 1-0 deficit against Algeria.
Still Hazard and Lukaku are two of superstars, and they could emerge quickly against a U.S. backline that has looked weak at times. The Chelsea striker Hazard has netted 23 goals over two years in Stamford Bridge, and Everton's Lukaku helped lift the Toffees to their best finish in the Premier League in years.
The Algerians could enter the Round of 16 with a great deal of confidence. Led by forward Islam Slimani, Algeria crushed South Korea 4-2 and is likely to move on to the knockout stage for the first time in history in lieu of a draw with Russia.
Slimani is also joined by forward Abdelmoumene Djabou, and goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi, who has been one of the better netminders in the tournament.
We will officially know the next opponent in about four hours.