A free viewing party for Tuesday's U.S.-Belgium World Cup match will be held at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach, with organizers expecting between 5,000 and 7,000 fans.
Fans are urged to arrive at 11 a.m. for the 1 p.m. live ESPN telecast of the round of 16 match from Salvador, Brazil, that will be shown on a big- screen television placed on a stage in the park. ESPN's pregame coverage will begin at noon.
Parking will be available at the Redondo Beach Pier parking structure north of Torrance Circle, the parking lot on George Freeth Way immediately west of the park, the Pier Plaza parking structure at the south end of Harbor Drive and the west end of Pacific Avenue and the Redondo Beach Marina lot on the west side of Harbor Drive, south of Portofino Way.
The viewing party is organized by the Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer and will include appearances by the team's Star Squad promotional and entertainment group, mascot Cozmo and Futboleros freestyle soccer performance team.
Galaxy-organized viewing parties for two of the U.S.' group play matches were held at the Hermosa Beach Pier, drawing crowds estimated at about 5,000. This viewing party is being held at Veterans Park because "it allows for more individuals to attend," Brendan Hannan, the Galaxy's senior director of communications and digital, told City News Service.
Belgium won Group H with a 3-0 record, defeating Algeria, 2-1, Russia, 1- 0, and South Korea, 1-0, with the only goal it allowed coming on a penalty kick. The United States was second in Group G with a 1-1-1 record, defeating Ghana, 2-1, tying Portugal, 2-2 and losing to Germany, 1-0.
Belgium is 11th in the rankings compiled by FIFA, soccer's worldwide governing body, two spots ahead of the U.S. Belgium leads the series 4-1, including a 4-2 victory in the most recent match, May 29, 2013 in Cleveland.
"They're a top team," U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard said. "Everyone around Europe will tell you how good they are. They've got so many good players, young, fast, good on the ball. I actually think because of that we match up well with them."
If the score is tied at the end of regulation, 30 minutes of overtime will be played. If the score is tied at the end of overtime, the match will be decided on penalty kicks.
The winner of the U.S.-Belgium match will face the winner of Tuesday's Argentina-Switzerland match Saturday in a quarterfinal, while the loser will be eliminated. The U.S. has advanced to at least the quarterfinals of the World Cup twice -- in the inaugural 1930 tournament, when 13 nations participated, but several top nations did not, and 2002.
ESPN's Soccer Power Index gives the U.S. a 41.4 percent chance of advancing to the quarterfinals and Belgium a 58.9 percent chance.
The index uses historical data on both the international and club level to predict the outcome of a match. The algorithm uses several years of data, taking into account goals scored and allowed, quality of the lineup fielded and the location of the match. Recent matches are weighed more heavily and the importance of a match is also a factor.
--City News Service