AN OUTSTANDING performance from the United States, inspired by Tim Howard, could not prevent American hearts being broken as Belgium finally produced a performance to match their pre-World Cup billing.
Howard - who made 16 saves - defied Belgium until extra time, when the introduction of Romelu Lukaku - his Everton team-mate last season - proved decisive with the striker creating the opening for Kevin de Bruyne’s winner before scoring the second himself in a thrilling 2-1 victory.
Teenager Julian Green gave the USA hope and they had chances, but Belgium just held on.
It was the end of an admirably brave run in the tournament for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men, who have won the hearts and minds of fans across the world - not least in their own country.
Belgium, who had failed to impress in their group games, have the reward of a quarter-final against Argentina in Brasilia.