By CAITLIN MURRAY
The U.S. Men’s National Team has done it. For the first time in team history, the USMNT clinched berths to the knockout round in back-to-back World Cups. It wasn’t the prettiest road — a slow and soggy loss to Germany on Thursday pushed them through in the end — but now, “Group of Death” is just an empty phrase as Ghana and Portugal head home. Jermaine Jones won SBI’s Man of the Match honors for the third straight game in a row as he again served as the dominant force on both sides of the ball.
Up next, the U.S. must face Belgium, who pulled out an impressive against-the-odds win Thursday over South Korea. Down to 10 men in a scoreless deadlock, Jan Vertonghen saved the day with a late rebound goal, which was enough to seal Belgium’s spot at the top of Group H. Elsewhere, Algeria advanced over Russia to face Germany next Monday.
Luis Suarez’s peculiar on-field bad habit come back to bite him — again. For the third time in his career, Suarez was punished for biting opponents after FIFA handed down Thursday a four-month ban from all soccer-related activity for Uruguay’s star striker. The punishment also includes a nine-game international ban, meaning he will be out of the World Cup as Uruguay advances to the Round of 16 Saturday.
Here is a rundown of all the stories featured on SBI today:
U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM:
USMNT advances to Round of 16 despite falling to Germany
FIFA hands Suarez fine, suspension for bite
Packwood signs extension with Birmingham City