The U.S. men’s soccer team is looking to make history on Tuesday by advancing to the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup. It would mark just the second time since 1930 that the team has finished in the top eight.
Before Team USA can accomplish that feat, Jurgen Klinsmann's squad will have to beat Belgium on Tuesday. The two teams will meet in their first match of the knockout stage, with the winner guaranteed to advance and the loser eliminated.
The U.S. has the odds stacked against them, as Belgium has been named the favorite. If the team does manage to make it out of the Round of 16, they have two possible opponents.
While the U.S. is set to face Belgium at 4 p.m. ET, Argentina and Switzerland are scheduled to square off at noon. The winner of Team USA vs. Belgium will go on to play the winner of the match that begins four hours earlier.
A victory for Argentina could mean a much tougher matchup for the U.S. in the quarterfinals. Other than Brazil, Argentina might have the best chance to win World Cup. They enter their next contest as the heavy favorite and have 4/1 championship odds.
Argentina began the tournament with high expectations, and they showed why in the group stage. The team won every match, led by perhaps the best player in the world. Lionel Messi has shined in the World Cup, scoring four goals and in spectacular fashion. No team has been able to contain the Barcelona star, and the U.S. would have to consider a different defensive strategy to keep him in check.
A match with Switzerland would not be easy for Team USA, but it would give the Americans a much better chance of advancing. Both the U.S. and Switzerland enter the Round of 16 with 100/1 odds to win the tournament. FiveThirtyEight’s match-prediction algorithm gives the U.S. a 47.5 percent chance of beating Switzerland, but just a 20.2 percent chance of getting past Argentina.
Switzerland took care of business against the weak opponents in Group E, beating Ecuador in their opener, and shutting out Honduras, in order to advance. However, they were embarrassed against France, losing 5-2, and trailing 5-0 by the 73rd minute.
Team USA hasn’t made it this far by simply beating underdogs. They tied Portugal, who was considered a favorite to advance past the group stage.
A quarterfinal match for the U.S. would be played on Saturday, July 5.