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We were almost there: Tim

Salvador: Tim Howard, who made a series of brilliant saves to keep the United States in Tuesday’s pre-quarters tie versus Belgium, was heart-broken by his team’s defeat.

“We played so well… The loss stings that much more. It really hurts to lose although Belgium played better.

“My own performance doesn’t matter. I signed up to get my face in front of the ball. If I had 20 saves or nothing at all, it doesn’t mean anything less.

“We had dreamt but fell short of our dream. But we got out of the ‘Group of Death’. And then we played a top team like Belgium… Gosh we were almost there!”

The ’keeper set a World Cup record with 16 saves in the team’s 1-2 loss to Belgium, but for him, it was all in a day’s work. “I’ve already said it all along. That’s what I signed up to do. I have to keep on sticking my face in front of balls and get in the way,” the 35-year-old iterated.

“That’s my job. So, I was able to do a lot of that in the match,” he added. “I know for me, unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. But we nearly did it and I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”

With his epic saves, Howard became an overnight hero for Americans who took to the Internet to praise their new favorite professional athlete. He said the entire United States team did, however, notice the support from Americans who watched the game in crowds of hundreds and thousands back home and those who made the trip to Brazil.

“We were motivated by that. We were inspired. It gave us hope,” said the New Jersey native.