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Altidore Will Be Ready For Belgium, U.S. Soccer Says

U.S. striker Jozy Altidore (left) works out with Fabian Johnson (center) and Jermaine Jones  during a World Cup training session in Salvador, Brazil, Monday. The U.S. says Altidore is fit to play against Belgium in their elimination matchup Tuesday.
Julio Cortez

American forward Jozy Altidore, who missed the U.S. team's last two World Cup games with a strained hamstring, is "ready and available" to play against Belgium tomorrow, U.S. Soccer has announced.

The elimination game will start at 4 p.m. EDT. Tuesday; it'll be on ESPN and Univision.

Altidore is hoping to return from the injury that took him out of America's opening win over Ghana two weeks ago. In his absence, the team tied Portugal and lost to Germany, 1-0.

Analysis from The Washington Post suggests Altidore might play as a reserve against Belgium:

"Realistically, after sitting out two matches and not training at full power for an extended period, Altidore is not a candidate to start against Belgium in Salvador. However, if he continues making strides, he would likely be in uniform and become an option late in the game."

Excitement over the Round of 16 game is building: In Chicago, where crowds filled Grant Park to watch earlier Cup games, fans can go to Soldier Field to watch the U.S.-Belgium game free of charge, organizers say.

If they defeat Belgium, the Americans would face the winner of the Argentina-Switzerland game, which begins at noon (EDT) Tuesday.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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