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SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Tim Howard kept the ball out of the net with slides, with dives and with leaps.
He couldn’t do it forever.
With the United States trying to reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, he saved 12 of Belgium’s shots in regulation to keep the game scoreless.
But Kevin De Bruyne scored in the 93rd minute and Romelu Lukaku in the 105th to build a two-goal lead for the Red Devils, who hung on for a 2-1 win Tuesday that eliminated the Americans in the second round for the second straight World Cup.
Howard tried to sound modest.
“I’m just trying to do all the things that have gotten me here and gotten us here,” he said. “That’s what I signed up to do — stick my face in front of balls. It’s nothing startling.”
Howard finished with 16 saves, the most in a World Cup game since FIFA started keeping track in 2002. It was his finest performance in 13 years with the national team.
“For my heart, please don’t give me too many games like this,” Belgium coach Marc Wilmots said. “He was in a state of grace.”
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