Belgium v USA - Key battles: Tottenham defender crucial

Jan Vertonghen will be important for Belgium in their World Cup last-16 clash against the USA.

Eden Hazard v Matt Besler

Hazard hasn’t been able to showcase his true talent so far, partly because every opposing team has dispensed about two to three defenders on him. When he has got the ball with time, however, he has demonstrated what a threat he can be. Skipping past players, whipping in crosses and more than capable of scoring a goal, Chelsea winger Hazard will be USA’s biggest fear.

Matt Besler of Sporting Kansas City had a tough game against Germany, but despite defeat, he can take away lots of positives. He won’t have faced anywhere near as much talent as he has at this World Cup, and against Hazard he certainly has a stiff task.

Harzard should have control over this battle, which means that Besler will need to do all he can to have a chance.

Dries Mertens v Omar Gonzalez

The Napoli winger has been on fire this past season and brought that form to the World Cup - every time he gets forward, Belgium seem to create an opportunity. With his electric pace, he appears to just glide past defenders as if they weren’t there. Steaming into the box, he can either shoot or lay onto a teammate.

LA Galaxy defender Gonzalez is much like Besler in not facing anywhere near as much quality as he has until he played in this World Cup. He has impressed, however, and showed good form against Germany.

Mertens should find this an easy task, but Gonzalez shouldn’t be underestimated.

Clint Dempsey v Jan Vertonghen

Dempsey has impressed everyone at this World Cup so far - his individual goal against Ghana was a breathtaking effort and showed the skill he has. The 31-year-old former Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur attacker will do all he can to make his country proud.

Jan Vertonghen has had an impressive World Cup too, and even showed he is capable of scoring with his goal against South Korea. The Spurs star is defensively strong and a valuable asset to the Belgium team.

This battle will be the best out of them all, and will be very exciting to watch.

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