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Jozy Altidore Available For July 1 Match Vs. Belgium

Jul 1 2014, 12:27am CDT | by , in News

Jozy Altidore Available For July 1 Match Vs. Belgium
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U.S. striker Jozy Altidore, who suffered a right hamstring injury against Ghana, will be available for the match against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup on July 1 but is a doubtful starter.

United States striker Jozy Altidore will be available for the round of 16 2014 FIFA World Cup match against Belgium on July 1. 

U.S. Soccer makes short mention of this in a press release it issued on its official website: 

"U.S. MNT FACES BELGIUM IN ROUND OF 16: The U.S. advanced to the Round of 16 in consecutive FIFA World Cups for the first time in its history and will play Belgium on Tuesday, July 1, at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, for a spot in the quarterfinals. 

"The game will be broadcast on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision and ESPN Radio. Fans can also follow live on Twitter @ussoccer. The U.S. finished in second place in Group G with seven points. Belgium took first place in Group H with nine points, beating Algeria (which advanced to the Round of 16 but fell 2-1 to Germanh on Monday), Russia and Korea to sweep the group. 

"After a dramatic 2-1 victory against Ghana and a roller coaster 2-2 draw with Portugal to open the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the USA finished Group G play with a 1-0 loss to Germany, tying Portugal with four points in the group.  The U.S. advanced, holding a goal differential of zero to Portugal's minus-3 goal differential. 

"In the final game of (the) group stage, Germany broke through with a goal in the 55th minute by Thomas Muller after a scoreless first half, U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard stopped a header by Per Mertesacker and the rebound trickled to the top of the box to Muller, whose shot inside the right post was just beyond the reach of a diving Howard. The U.S. would threaten but failed to score, as the 1-0 Germany lead would stand for the final count.

"Jozy Altidore, who left the USA's opening game against Ghana with a hamstring injury, has been in training with the U.S. and has been deemed available for the Belgium match. Jermaine Jones collided with Alejandro Bedoya during the game against Germany and both are cleared to play. Clint Dempsey (nose) and defender Matt Belser (hamstring) have recovered from their respective injuries and will be available for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann." 

United States defender Omar Gonzalez told ESPN FC Altidore's absence has taken its toll on the team, particularly Dempsey: 

"Jozy's a great striker, especially when he's up there with Clint (Dempsey). Both can create chances, and with Jozy going out early, it's been a lot of work for Clint. He's done a great job up there. Hopefully we can see Jozy come back pretty soon, and if that's the case, it's going to be a tough task for the defenders that have to mark them.

"We've got the guys who can come in and get the job done, (Altidore) can come in and add another threat." 

ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle weighed in on Altidore's return against Belgium: 

"Any decision to play Altidore carries with it considerable risk. If the U.S. striker was to suffer a recurrence of the injury, Klinsmann would have to use one of his three substitutes, which would limit his tactical options later in the match, especially if Altidore comes on as a substitute himself.

 

"Yet there is also the possibility that this is just a ploy by Klinsmann to hide his true intentions. The word 'available' could mean starting Altidore with the idea of playing him a predetermined number of minutes, using him as a substitute, or having him on the bench with no intention of playing him at all." 

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