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World Cup Daily Recap: US advances, set to face Belgium in Round of 16

Day 15: Our favorite day of the World Cup so far.

Here’s how it all shook out:

USA 0-1 Germany | Full Recap

It wasn’t pretty and it definitely wasn’t easy, but the U.S. made it out of the Group of Death. They’ll take on Group H winners Belgium in the Round of 16 on Tuesday.

Check out our full recap here, our social recap of RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman’s 90-minute performance here and our social recap of the reaction to the U.S.’s advancement here.

Well done, boys. Let’s keep this party going against Belgium.  

Portugal 2-1 Ghana | Full Recap

Thanks for letting us all breathe a little easier, Cristiano Ronaldo.  

Portugal’s star cemented the U.S. into the Round of 16 on Thursday, scoring in the 81st minute to put Portugal up 2-1 on Ghana. Ronaldo’s goal was huge for the U.S.’s hopes, which had been hanging by the thinnest of threads earlier in the day. The U.S. would’ve advanced with a 0-1 loss and a 1-1 tie in the Portugal-Ghana game but would’ve gone home if they’d lost and Ghana had won 2-1. That result looked somewhat likely, with the Black Stars pushing and pushing before Ronaldo pounced on a goalkeeper error to give Portugal the lead and ease the hopes of millions back here in the States.

Portugal and Ghana will now both head home from Brazil. Portugal finished third in Group G, finishing with four points with a 1-1-1 record but losing out to the U.S. on goal differential. Ghana finished last in Group G, earning just one point with a 0-2-1 record.

South Korea 0-1 Belgium | Full Recap

They made it a little harder than they had to, but Belgium moved to 3-0-0 to win Group H on Thursday, getting a 77th minute goal from Jan Vertonghen to beat South Korea 1-0 despite going down a man late in the first half.

Belgium midfielder Steven Defour was shown a straight red right before halftime for a studs up challenge on Korea’s Kim Shin-Wook. Defour will miss Tuesday’s Round of 16 match while serving a one-game suspension due to the red card. Check out his horror tackle below:

Thursday’s loss ends the tournament for South Korea. It was a disappointing run for the Taeguk Lions, which finished the World Cup with a 0-2-1 mark.

Algeria 1-1 Russia | Full Recap

This was an absolutely wild one, with both sides fighting, scratching and clawing to advance to the Round of 16. Needing a win to advance, Russia got off to a great start, with Aleksandr Kokorin expertly heading home a Dmitri Kombarov cross to put Fabio Capello’s side up 1-0 in just the sixth minute.

Russia held the lead for quite some time, keeping Algeria at bay until the 60th minute, when Islam Slimani scored a mildly controversial goal to pull the Desert Foxes – which only needed a draw to go through – level. The goal came off an Algeria set piece, which was slightly marred by a laser that was being directed at Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev’s face prior to the free kick.

Laser or no laser, the goal set off wild celebrations back in Algeria, which have now qualified for the Round of 16 for the first time in their history. The Desert Foxes will take on Germany in the Round of 16 on Monday. 

Russia and the extremely well-compensated Capello will now head home from the tournament with a 0-1-2 record. They’ll have to wait until they host the tournament in 2018 for their next shot at World Cup glory.