United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann claimed on Friday he has "enough confidence" to back his team to beat Belgium in the round of 16.
Klinsmann was slated in the American media before the FIFA World Cup for saying: "I think for now, talking about winning a World Cup, is just not realistic".
Critics labelled the 49-year-old German coach's comments as "un-American".
But after leading the 13th-ranked Americans out of a difficult group in Brazil that also included Germany, Portugal and Ghana, Klinsmann appeared to have learned from his earlier mistake by talking up his team's chances against world number 11 Belgium on Tuesday.
"We have enough confidence now going into this game – a very special one, a knockout game – to say we are able to beat them," Klinsmann said.
"But we all know we have to go to our extreme and get 100 per cent in each player to make this happen."
Belgium arrived in Brazil with plenty of pundits predicting they could challenge for the title, despite having missed the past two World Cups.
Marc Wilmots' men got through Group H with three tight victories over Algeria, Russia and South Korea but Klinsmann still rates Belgium highly, despite their lack of fluency in the tournament so far.
"(Belgium are one) of the secret favourites in this World Cup because of the players, individual players, that they have," he said.
"We have absolutely no fear at all. We feel like we are in a position now to challenge (them). We believe we have built a foundation in our team that we are able to beat them."
Klinsmann, however, reminded his players they will have to play better than they did in their final Group G match against Germany, which they lost 1-0 on Thursday.
"I was definitely not as happy as with the first two games with the performance they had against Germany," the former striker said.
"Now, going into knockout games, everyone has to call up his 100 per cent for the team.
"I believe that in our team so far, nobody can claim that he reached his 100 per cent yet. This is a very important message to the players, is that now prove it."
Aussies Abroad: Luongo and Wednesday go top of the Championship as Irvine captains Hull
Massimo Luongo has entered Hillsborough, and the Owls are flying high in the EFL Championship. Luongo was deployed as a late substitute by manager Lee Bulleen as a 54th minute goal from Kadeem Harris handed Sheffield Wednesday a 1-0 win over Luton Town this morning. MORE: B
Australia’s young football talents to be recognised with new awards
Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today announced the introduction of two new awards to recognise players representing Australia's junior national teams. FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said the awards would celebrate the overall conduct
FFA congratulates Young Socceroos on AFF U-18 Championship success
Football Federation Australia Chief Executive David Gallop AM has paid tribute to the Young Socceroos, who beat Malaysia 1-0 overnight in the final of the 2019 AFF U-18 Championship in Vietnam. Gallop said the whole squad and coaching staff should be delighted with their achie
Joeys U-17 and U-15 squads in camp at the AIS
Joeys head coach Trevor Morgan has assembled the two age groups at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) this week, as an important part of the development of the men's football pathway. The U-17 squad is in camp from 19 to 22 August and the U-15 squad from 22 to 25 August,