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2014 FIFA World Cup

World Cup Quote Sheet: MNT vs. Belgium - Howard, Jones, Dempsey, Gonzalez, Bradley, Besler

U.S. MNT Players Tim Howard, Jermaine Jones, Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Bradley and Matt Besler Speak to the Media after the USA's Match against Belgium

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U.S. MNT goalkeeper TIM HOWARD
On his immediate reaction to the loss:
“It’s heartbreaking. I don’t think we could have given any more. What a great game of football. We left it all out there. We got beat by a really good team. They took their chances well. It’s heartache. It hurts.”

On the sense of urgency in the last minutes displayed by the U.S.:
“That’s human nature. Once you go behind, there’s a trigger in all of us that we feel like we have to claw ourselves back. That just happens. That’s the way sports are.”

On being under pressure for the majority of the match:
“That’s my job. That’s what I signed up to do. It’s part of it. In these big games against top-quality competition, the levy is going to break at some point. Hats off to Belgium, they were fantastic, but we gave a valiant effort.”

On having hope throughout the match:
“Oddly enough when you’re in the game you don’t really think about that. You just try and fix the problem and always believe you can do it. What an incredible group. Sometimes when you give your best, it doesn’t come off, but I’m proud of this group.”

On the feeling between the extra time periods when the MNT was down 2-0:
“When we changed over, we just said, ‘Try and get a goal.’ If we get a goal we can put them under real pressure and at 2-1, I think we did that. Dream fell short, but this is an incredible group, and we’ll never forget this night.”

On DeAndre Yedlin:
“Brilliant. Pleasantly surprised with DeAndre. He’s got a bright future. He’s fearless. He’s gets forward, he’s strong, he’s fast. It’s not a cakewalk and I thought he handled it really, really well.  As the team got tired, we opened up, but you talk about one-on-one, he won those battles.”

On the potential of this team:
“I think the sky is the limit for this team and this was a good taste for these guys. Really young team, the guys got some good minutes and saw what it was about. You learn some lessons, sometimes they’re harsh. I think we’ll grow and it’s exciting to see where this team could go.”

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On the USA¹s ability to come back and the growing reputation of the team:
“It’s not the first time. You saw we could come back against Portugal. We could have scored in the 90th minute today with Wondo¹s chance but this is part of the game and that¹s the way it goes. At the end of the day we’re out, but we will come back. We’ve showed the world the USA is growing [as a team] and everybody who plays against us knows we’re for real.”

On his thoughts about game:
“This is part of the game. In the end of the day we’re out, but we’ll come back. We showed the world that U.S. Soccer is coming. Everybody who plays against us has to take us like a real game.”

On Tim Howard:
“Timmy knows we have to trust in him. He’s a key player. He had an amazing game today – Man of the Match.”

On what the U.S. MNT’s play showed:
“We know that this team never gives up. We will try every time when we are on the pitch to win the game.”

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Overall thoughts on the game:
“It was for either team to have today. That’s the reason why it went to overtime.  We were trying to commit numbers forward to try to push for the win, try to be more attacking and try to get the goal. They caught us on a little bit of a counterattack and were able to punish us for it. Credit to us; we never gave up, going 2-0 down, kept fighting. We showed a lot of character. We had a chance to tie the game late in overtime. You take the positives from it. We played well, we fought hard, but we just came up a little bit short.

“Congrats to Julian Green getting his World Cup goal. He’s another player that has a bright future. To this team, a lot of respect because we went down with a fight and we pushed to the very end and I think they knew that we were the ones who were pushing to get the equalizer.”

On his chance to score the equalizer in extra time:
“I thought I had a great touch on it. It was one of those situations that [Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois] was aggressive on the play. He came out and made it difficult, made the goal small with his reaction. It was one of those where you try your best and no regrets.”

On Tim Howard:
“Tim was awesome for us, as you would expect from him. He’s a world-class goalie. We depend on him to do well for us to do well. He was big for us tonight.”

On DeAndre Yedlin:
“He’s a player that has a bright future. He’s really athletic, has great pace, is able to get into those dangerous spots. We were just a little bit unlucky not to get on the end of one of those crosses. I think that would have been nice. I thought he played well this World Cup and he has a bright future.”

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On the match:
"What a battle. Belgium is no easy team to play against, and it took a great effort from us to come back, especially in that extra time. Everyone was tired on both teams but we never gave up and it's something we can really be proud of. I think that we can hold our heads high. A lot of guys had great games tonight. We almost came back. We had a few really great chances to get back and could have brought it to PKs."

On the fans:
"I want to thank all the fans that made it out tonight. The support, hearing the U.S. chant that late in the game, was an unbelievable feeling and I know the fans back at home were cheering their hearts out as well."

On the team's energy:
"The energy is all about the passion for the game. It is something that is ingrained in the American spirit: we will never give up; we will never stop fighting. I really hope that the fans across the world saw that today – that we never stop fighting."

On his reaction to the game:
“These games are always about a play here or a play there. Chances go both ways. Obviously right at the beginning of overtime we gave up a goal to go down 1-0 and probably then got a little sloppy to give up another. But having said that, we kept playing, we kept fighting. We got a goal to get back to 2-1 and probably are unlucky not to get the equalizer at the end. You get to this point and everybody’s a good team. Every game is a hard game and you know that it’s going to be a play here or a play there that’s going to make the difference.”

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On how he feels after the match:

“Of course it’s bittersweet. We’re going to hold our heads high and hold our chest out because we are proud of what we did.  We are proud of how we fought and left everything on the field, but we feel like we could be playing in the quarterfinals. We feel like we have the team to do that. So, yes it’s bittersweet and it’s going to be on my mind.”

On Tim Howard’s performance:
“Huge, huge. One of the best goalies in the world. He’s our backbone in the back. It’s nice as a defender when you know you have that behind you. He played unbelievably tonight.”

On battling Belgium and fatigue:
“Physically it was tough. Anyone who watched the match could see the last ten minutes were tough on us physically and were holding on there to get into overtime. But again, we had the chance at the end with a minute left. If that goes in, we’re through. We knew it was going to be a battle though. We knew that we were going to go out and play and that it was going to be an open game. Belgium did a good job countering. They have those four or five guys up top who are some of the most talented players in the world and they did a good job countering.”

On Lukaku’s impact on the game for Belgium:
“You saw what he did when he came on. I’d like to have that first one back. I thought I could make a play on the ball. I took a shot and missed and lost my balance, and obviously that leads to the goal. The way the game went, when you see a guy like that come on in overtime that has fresh legs, it makes it extremely difficult and credit to Belgium, they did a good job finding him.”

On giving up the second goal and the emotions near the end of the game:
“The whole game was ups and downs. The second goal was tough to give up, but again, you’re running on tired legs and the game is open and you’re trying to push to get the tying goal and unfortunately they were able to score again. When Julian was able to score, the last five or six minutes were some of the most exciting feelings that I’ve had as a soccer player.”

On DeAndre Yedlin’s performance:
“I’m proud of him. I’m excited for him. I’m excited that he plays on our team because he has tools that other guys don’t. When he ran down Hazard on the sideline that one play – you don’t see Hazard get outrun like that, and he blew by him which was so impressive. The composure that he had, the fight that he had; I think all of us can be very excited about the potential that he has.”

On the veterans of the team, specifically DaMarcus Beasley:
“That’s what goes on in the locker room, the other side of it. There’s a lot of hype about some young guys and their performances. In the locker room right now it’s about the guys that potentially, it could be their last time wearing the U.S. jersey. I can’t say enough about DaMarcus, the way that he played this tournament. He’s just a great player.”

On what the team takes from the World Cup:
“I think this team took a giant step this World Cup. The way that we played, the teams that we played. We came up short. The end goal is never just to get out of our group. We really want to make a deep run into the tournament. We’re close, but this is two World Cups where we make it to this exact same place, this game and it goes into overtime and we give up an early goal, that’s eerie. Looking forward, we made huge steps as a team and it’s an exciting time for U.S. Soccer. I think everyone involved should be very excited going forward.”