Sports

Strong performance against the US shows Belgium finally coming into its own at World Cup

  • Belgium's head coach Marc Wilmots, right,  celebrates with his staff after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium won the match 2-1 after extra-time. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    Belgium's head coach Marc Wilmots, right, celebrates with his staff after the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium won the match 2-1 after extra-time. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)  (The Associated Press)

  • Exhausted US players lie on the ground as Belgium's Axel Witsel (6) celebrates at the end of the extra time during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium held on to beat US 2-1 in extra time.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Exhausted US players lie on the ground as Belgium's Axel Witsel (6) celebrates at the end of the extra time during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium held on to beat US 2-1 in extra time.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)  (The Associated Press)

  • Exhausted US players lie on the ground as Belgium's Axel Witsel (6) celebrates at the end of the extra time during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium held on to beat US 2-1 in extra time.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

    Exhausted US players lie on the ground as Belgium's Axel Witsel (6) celebrates at the end of the extra time during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Belgium and the USA at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador, Brazil, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Belgium held on to beat US 2-1 in extra time.(AP Photo/Felipe Dana)  (The Associated Press)

The stirring performance against the United States provided a shot in the arm for Belgium, and some more.

Now, with its reputation restored in the wake of a 2-1 victory over the Americans in the second round of the World Cup, Belgium is looking full of confidence ahead of Saturday's quarterfinal match against Argentina.

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots says "Argentina must have some doubts now."

Belgium produced a relentless series of attacks against the Americans, while their defense only started showing cracks in the final minutes of extra time.

In group play, Belgium had made it abundantly clear it was excellent in defense, but three low-scoring, one-goal victories had cast doubt that its forward line could create chances.

Then came 27 shots on goal against the Americans.