I hope to exploit Howard's weaknesses - Mirallas

The Everton star says his club colleague is one of the world's best goalkeepers, but he hopes to use his knowledge of the USA number one to Belgium's benefit on Tuesday
By Kris Voakes in Mogi das Cruzes

Kevin Mirallas believes Tim Howard is one of the world’s best goalkeepers, but he hopes to pick on his Everton team-mate's weaknesses when Belgium and USA come head-to-head on Tuesday.

The two sides face off in the World Cup round of 16 in Fortaleza, and Mirallas is keen to make things as difficult as possible for the US shot-stopper in a bid to fire Belgium into the quarter-finals.

"Me and Tim have a good relationship. We've known each other for two years and he is a great guy. A superb goalkeeper," Mirallas told reporters at Belgium's World Cup training base. "Today, I will call him and talk with him a bit about Tuesday's match and we will just laugh.

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"I think he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, along with Thibaut Courtois. I think they are two very good keepers. With Tim, I know his qualities but I also know his weaknesses. I hope that will benefit my team."

Belgium are one of only four teams left in the tournament boasting a 100 per cent record, and Mirallas insists that their 12-year drought without competing in a major championship is a positive rather than a negative.

"We are more excited than nervous. This is the first time these players have played in the last-16. We feel good, and we know that we have an entire country behind us.

"I hope we will continue to make people dream and make history for our country."

As a lively attacker, Mirallas is happy to see that technically-gifted players have been afforded a degree of protection so far at this World Cup.

"Since the beginning of the tournament, referees have been trying to protect players who are technically strong," observed the 26-year-old.

"It is never easy for them because there is a lot of contact in the World Cup. But so far there have not been too many mistakes. I hope that will continue."

Belgium's clash with USA on Tuesday kicks off at 21:00BST at Arena Fonte Nova.