Jurgen Klinsmannâ€™s side played their part in a pulsating match, but had backs against the wall for large parts of the second half as Belgium spurned a hatful of chances.
Indeed, the Red Devils had 38 shots on goal across 120 minutes, forcing Howard into a number of impressive saves.
But the former Manchester United manâ€™s resistance was broken early in extra time as first Kevin de Bruyne and then Romelu Lukaku struck to send Marc Wilmotsâ€™ men through.
"It was heart-breaking. We left it all out there but we lost to a really good team. It hurts but hats off to Belgium they were fantastic," Howard said in a televised interview.
â€śWe put them under real pressure at the end and fell short but it was an unbelievable night and we have an incredible group of players."
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