03 July 2014 | News Comments

Klinsmann hails Howard after shattering defeat

US boss Jurgen Klinsmann has paid tribute to Tim Howard's "phenomenal" performance as the Everton goalkeeper defied Belgium until extra-time in their World Cup last-16 clash.

Howard made 16 saves, the most by any keeper in a World Cup match since 1966 according to statistics, before two goals in extra-time saw Belgium win 2-1 to secure a quarter-final place against Argentina.

Klinsmann said: "What Tim played tonight was just phenomenal, outstanding - he kept us in that game for a long time. We are proud to have him with us.

"It was an absolutely amazing match tonight and you can give him the biggest compliment in the world."

The introduction of Romelu Lukaku - Howard's Everton team-mate last season - made the difference, with the striker creating the opening for Kevin de Bruyne's winner before scoring the second himself.

Teenager Julian Green gave the Americans hope and they had chances, but Belgium just held out.

Klinsmann said it was "a bummer" for his side to lose, but insisted his players should be proud of themselves.

He added: "It's a bummer for us ending on the losing side after a game of 120 minutes that gave everything to the fans, a real drama, a thriller.

"We we had enough possession to equalise that game at the end, but a big compliment to Belgium and congratulations to them.

"I'm very proud of our team. Every player on the field made their country proud with this performance in this World Cup.

"All of the players just went beyond their capabilities and I told them they should take a lot of very positive stuff back home with them."

Meanwhile, more people in the US tuned into the game than they did for the World Series of baseball.

Disney-owned ESPN said it was the second highest rated men's football game, with about 16.5 million viewers.

ESPN said it beat its record for its streaming video app Watch ESPN, with 1.1 million viewers.

Spanish-language broadcast network Univision said 5.1 million watched the game.

The overall number of people watching was likely to be much higher, given that tens of thousands packed bars, restaurants and sports stadiums to view the game.

Nielsen, which provides TV ratings, measures only US households.

The more than 22 million watching beat the 19 million viewers who tuned in to see the Boston Red Sox win the World Series last year.

Still, football has a long way to go before it catches up in popularity with American Football.

The NFL's annual Super Bowl drew in more than 111 million US viewers this year.