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Jozy Altidore runs in practice for U.S. team

SAO PAULO, Brazil — A day after securing a spot in the round of 16 at the World Cup, the United States went through a light practice and regeneration Friday.

There was one encouraging sign: Striker Jozy Altidore was running with his teammates in practice. Altidore strained his left hamstring in the first half of a 2-1 victory over Ghana on June 16 but has been at least jogging for three days.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is keeping his fingers crossed that the 24-year-old forward will be available for Tuesday's knockout-round match against Belgium in Salvador.

"We are very optimistic," he said. "Every day is a big step forward with Jozy. It's 11 days now, and it's looking better every day."

Altidore has not spoken to the media since sustaining the injury. Since he was hurt, the Americans have played two full games with only one striker — captain Clint Dempsey — and five midfielders.

One of those midfielders, Jermaine Jones, broke his nose in Thursday's 1-0 loss to Germany in Recife but will be able to play against Belgium. He's the second U.S. player in this tournament to break his nose, joining Dempsey.

Kompany uncertain: A recurring groin injury to captain Vincent Kompany is a worry for Belgium. "We will do all within our powers to make sure he comes back at 100 percent," coach Marc Wilmots said, acknowledging it was based more on hope than medical evidence. He said it was "impossible to say now" whether the Manchester City central defender would be ready to play Tuesday. Another defender, Anthony Vanden Borre, has a cracked left fibula and will miss the rest of the World Cup.

Ratings: Thursday's U.S.-Germany game was the second-highest rated men's World Cup match on ESPN's networks despite the noon kickoff. It drew a 6.7 rating (percentage of all TVs in use) and was seen by 10.77 million viewers, ESPN said. The game trailed only last weekend's U.S.-Portugal draw, which received a 9.6 rating and was seen by 18.22 million viewers on ESPN and 24.7 million overall, including Spanish-language coverage on Univision.

Long-distance runner: Midfielder Michael Bradley has covered the most distance of any player in the tournament through three matches. According to FIFA statistics, Bradley has run 23.61 miles, about 0.8 miles more than the No. 2, Chile midfielder Marcelo Diaz.

Jozy Altidore runs in practice for U.S. team 06/27/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 27, 2014 9:30pm]
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