Take That, Belgium! Five World Cup Records Set by Team USA and Its Fans

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Goalkeeper Tim Howard and captain Clint Dempsey are among those setting high bars for the competition.

Team USA may be out of the World Cup after its 2-1 loss Tuesday night to Belgium, but the American crew coached by Jurgen Klinsmann did set some tournament records in Brazil.

And so did the rabid U.S. fans who have followed the Cup in the stadiums and via TV.

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The morning after the thrilling match, THR ‎takes a look at some of Team USA's record stats.

Tim Howard: most saves by a World Cup goalkeeper (since at least 1966)
As Belgium stormed at the U.S. goal Tuesday night, goalie Tim Howard, who plays his club soccer for England's Everton, made 15 saves, according to match statistics from research firm Opta. That is the most saves for any keeper since at least the 1966 World Cup, when this data was first recorded. ESPN counted 16 saves and also spoke of a record. Howard denied Belgium until the first half of extra time.

Klinsmann lauded Howard's performance after the game, saying: "What Tim played was just phenomenal, outstanding. He kept us in that game for a long time. We are proud to have him with us." He added:‎ "It was an absolutely amazing match tonight and you can give him the biggest compliment in the world."

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Belgium's captain, Vincent Kompany, was more succinct, tweeting: "Two words...Tim Howard. #Respect #BelUSA." Overall, Twitter registered more than 1.8 million mentions of Howard, with one save drawing more than 50,000 tweets per minute‎.

Michael Bradley: most ground covered by any player in the first stage of the 2014 World Cup
The U.S. midfielder ran 23.6 miles in three games, or nearly 8 miles per match, during the group stage of the tournament.

No other player in Brazil matched that feat, with Chile's Marcelo Diaz coming closest, with 22.8 miles‎.

Bradley's endurance earned him such media monikers as Energizer Bunny, Marathon Man and Running Man.

Clint Dempsey: fastest goal of the 2014 World Cup
The U.S. captain had a great World Cup, and he proved his striking skills in the team's group stage clash with Ghana.

The opening whistle had barely blown before Dempsey was off on a spectacular run, scoring after only 30 seconds, making for the fastest goal of this World Cup so far and the fifth fastest in World Cup history. Team USA went on to win the match 2-1.

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‎The record for the quickest Cup goal was set in 2002 by Turkey's Hakan Sukur, who scored after only 11 seconds during Turkey's third-place match against South Korea. Turkey won that one 3-2.

DaMarcus Beasley: first U.S. player to play in four World Cups
The 32-year-old veteran, who has switched from midfield to defense on the national team, became the first American to play in four World Cups.

‎Before him, U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna and goalkeeper Kasey Keller made four World Cup rosters, but Reyna played in only three tournaments and Keller in two.

''If you have that will and desire and that confidence in yourself that you belong in this group of players, that's half the battle,'' Beasley said before the World Cup. ''The other half is actually going out and doing it.''

He is in rare company as only about two dozen players have been on the field in four or more World Cups.

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Team USA Fans: largest overseas contingent
Americans were the largest contingent of overseas fans who traveled to the World Cup in Brazil, according to world soccer governing body FIFA. Based on ticket sales, it said fans of Team USA lagged behind only fans of host nation Bra‎zil.

FIFA said before the Cup that U.S. fans bought 198,208 tickets, but that is without counting those fans believed to have gotten last-minute tickets or those who watched from public viewing sites and bars.

Back home, of course, U.S. soccer fans have also set various World Cup ratings records for ESPN.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai