June 26, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Despite falling to Germany, 1-0, on Thursday, former Fighting Irish All-American Matt Besler (’09) and the United States Men’s National Team has qualified for the Round of 16 of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The United States finished second in Group G with four points, while Germany topped the group with seven points. Portugal also finished with four points, but the Americans advanced on goal differential. Ghana fell to Portugal, 2-1, on Thursday to finish the tournament with one point.
The U.S. will face Belgium at 4 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday in the Round of 16. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Argentina-Switzerland match on July 5 in the quarterfinals.
Besler, a central defender, played all 90 minutes of Thursday’s match against Germany. The Sporting KC standout and two-time MLS All-Star started all three matches of group play. Today was Besler’s 20th cap with the U.S. National Team and the squad is 13-2-4 with him in the starting lineup. He is the first current or former Notre Dame men’s player on a World Cup Final roster.
After the game, Besler (@mbesler) tweeted: I love this team!! I love my country!! USA USA USA!!! We’re still hungry….
Matthew Doyle from MLSsoccer.com lauded Besler’s performance. Click here to read the article.
Besler started the World Cup opener, a 2-1 win over Ghana, but was replaced at halftime as a precaution after pulling his right hamstring late in the first half. Besler was on the pitch for all 90-plus minutes of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Portugal.
At Notre Dame, Besler played in 90 matches, including 73 starts, from 2005-08 and tallied five goals and seven assists. He earned first team All-America and first team Academic All-America honors as a senior. Besler was a three-time all-BIG EAST honoree and was named the 2008 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar-Athlete of the Year.