World Cup

The U.S. team's dramatic and unexpected run in the World Cup came to an end today in Salvador, Brazil.

For 90 minutes, the score was tied at 0-0. Belgium attacked and attacked, but U.S. goal keeper Tim Howard held them off with save after save in spectacular fashion. By some counts, Howard had the most saves in World Cup history.

But as the game went into extra time, however, Howard couldn't hold back the attacks.

Belgium scored its first goal a couple of minutes in, and then quickly added another one.

Win or go home. Do or die. Lose and you're done. Choose your sports cliche, and for the United States team, it's true. The U.S. takes on Belgium at 4 p.m. EDT today in Salvador, Brazil. It's the Americans' first game in the knockout stage. The victor moves on to the quarterfinals, and the loser books a flight home.

The Americans have the spunk, the vigor and a willingness to try anything. The Belgians have the art, the creativity and the tradition of world-class success. We're not just talking about their looming World Cup matchup here. We're also talking about beer.

The topic of beer and the World Cup is now bubbling around in the highest offices of the two nations.

Nelson Antoine / AP Photo

The U.S. Men's National Soccer Team will take on Belgium next Tuesday in the knockout round of the World Cup. The U.S. men weren't expected to get past the so-called Group of Death. But they did, and they did it with the help of Seattle's own DeAndre Yedlin, a World Cup rookie.

The U.S. men's soccer team has finished second in its World Cup group, after a 1-0 loss to Germany on Thursday. The Americans will advance after Portugal beat Ghana 2-1.

"This is a huge, huge step, and now we can't wait until round of 16," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said afterward, according to ESPN. "Everyone said we had no chance. We took the chance and move on. And now we really want to prove a point."

Anticipation is building for the U.S. Men's National Team's showdown with Germany on Thursday. The Americans need a win or a tie to decide their own fate; a loss would mean they need help to advance to the round of 16.

The game will start at noon ET — when the other Group G match, between Portugal and Ghana, also starts. You can follow the game or just comment on the action here at The Two-Way. For now, we've rounded up analysis and predictions.

Sunday's thrilling and frustrating World Cup match between the U.S. and Portugal drew an average of 24.7 million viewers, according to the Nielsen ratings company, a result that puts the game above the recent NBA finals.

The game's total U.S. viewership of 24.7 million includes ratings from both ESPN (18.2 million viewers) and the Spanish-language Univision (6.5 million); it doesn't include the 1.37 million people ESPN says streamed the game online.

Ricardo Mazalan / AP Photo

World Cup fever seems to have swept much of the nation, especially after the U.S. beat Ghana 2-1 on Monday. The U.S. men’s national team is led by captain and Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey, who scored the first goal in the first 30 seconds of the match.

As U.S. prepares to take on Portugal on Sunday afternoon, sports commentator Art Thiel says the team's win has changed the expected narrative of the World Cup, or what Art calls "grand theater."

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The Seattle Sounders are on top of the Major League Soccer standings heading into Saturday’s game against the Fire in Chicago. Then they’re off for three weeks while the World Cup is played in Brazil.

Two Sounders players are on the men’s national team, which has taken them away from MLS play recently. But KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says the Sounders have sufficient depth on their team to handle it.

Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press

She's dealt with a lot of drama on and off the soccer field. But former University of Washington star Hope Solo is at the top of her game as the United States Women's soccer team prepares to take on Japan for the World Cup title this Sunday.

Martin Meissner / AP Photo

She was a star at the University of Washington, and now goalie Hope Solo has been instrumental in getting the U.S. Women's Soccer Team to the World Cup final. After a dramatic shootout win over Brazil last weekend, the U.S. beat France Wednesday 3-1. Solo and the rest of her teammates will face Japan in the final on Sunday.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel met Hope Solo at the Beijing Olympics and will share some of his insights about her drive and determination tomorrow morning at 5:35 and 7:35 on 88.5 KPLU. Check back here tomorrow for a blog of our conversation.