clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Throwback Thursday: Tim Howard becomes the Secretary of Defense against Belgium

New, comments

He sets a World Cup record with his performance in a losing effort.

Belgium v USA: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

The United States Men’s National Team entered their Round of 16 matchup against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup as the underdogs. However, having emerged from the Group of Death, a group that included eventual champions Germany, Portugal, and Ghana, the USMNT was feeling confident that they could get past the Red Devils and onto the quarterfinals.

To do that however, the team would need to play incredible defense and stifle the potent Belgian attack. They had a guy for that: Tim Howard. Tim Howard was the starter for the USMNT in goal, but not even he realized what a match he would have.

Tim Howard was stellar for the United States, stopping almost every single shot he could in spectacular fashion. Some were routine, others on the verge of impossible. Two shots eventually got past him off the feet of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. When it was all set and done, Tim Howard had recorded 16 saves, the most in a match in World Cup history.

The USMNT would lose 2-1 to Belgium, ending their run in Brazil. However, Tim Howard’s performance was so highly acclaimed that people were willing to grant him another title other than Man of the Match:

That’s right, the Wikipedia article for the U.S. Secretary of Defense was changed to list Tim Howard. Then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Tim Howard in the days after the match to congratulate him on his performance (and his apparent new position), while then-President Barack Obama promised to consider Tim Howard if there was a future opening in the Pentagon’s top office.

Even though it was in a losing effort, Tim Howard’s night in goal against Belgium will go down as arguably the greatest goalkeeping performance in soccer history. Relive the good moments of that match and a goalkeeper giving his all to keep his country in the World Cup.