The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) came away with a nail-biting victory over Iran to send them onto the knockout stages. It marked the third straight time the US has advanced this far when appearing in the World Cup. The USMNT will now aim to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002. Their opponent will be the Netherlands who came out of Group A on top with 7 points.
We’ll preview this intriguing matchup and take a look at the betting odds.
USA vs Netherlands Preview
The Dutch were expected to go through Group A, but it wasn’t such a sure bet that the US would be able to qualify for the knockout stages. The team has impressed since arriving in Qatar but has struggled to finish in the final third. All it took was one goal against Iran to come away with three points and earn a ticket to the knockout rounds.
The Netherlands were placed in the easiest group of the World Cup, with the host nation accompanying them. Cody Gakpo has been the star of the team, scoring 3 goals through the group stage. He’ll be looking to become the first Dutch player to ever score in 4 straight World Cup games this Saturday when he takes on the United States.
Tactically wise, the USMNT might have their most favorable matchup of the tournament ahead of them. Each of the teams they faced in the group stages had the tendency of dropping back while hoping to push on the counter. The Netherlands is just the opposite, as they will look to control possession of the ball this Saturday. The US will be hoping to capitalize on the counter opportunities that they will have plenty of.
Tyler Adams has been one of the stars of the team so far. He’s done a great job of winning possession and pushing the ball upfield. He’ll be looking to exploit the talented Virgil van Dijk of Holland this Saturday. The US will have a tough time sending balls into the box because of van Dijk’s aerial abilities.
The biggest concern for the USMNT is their health. Christian Pulisic injured his Pelvic in what turned out to be the game-winning goal to send his squad to the knockout stages. Forward Josh Sargent also had to leave the game after hurting his ankle, while Weston McKennie is nursing a quad injury. All 3 of them should be healthy enough to start on Saturday but if not Greg Berhalter is going to have to make a change to his starting XI.
The Netherlands and the US have each defended exceptionally well to this point in the tournament, giving up only one goal a piece. The US only conceded theirs because of a penalty kick against Wales. This game is likely going to be low-scoring, which means whoever gets the first one is going to have a big leg up.
Sportsbooks have the US as Sizable Underdogs
The United States has opened as underdogs in their first knockout stage game since the 2014 World Cup. Oddly enough a draw is still among one of the featured bet options for knockout stage games, despite such a result being impossible. Don’t be confused though, as this wagering option only takes regulation time into account.
Oddsmakers are going with precedent in this matchup. Despite still looking for that elusive first World Cup trophy, the Dutch have had a ton of World Cup success. They won their Round of 16 matchups in 4 of their last 5 World Cup appearances, while the US has advanced past the Round of 16 only once since 1930.
Keep an eye on the US injuries going into this matchup. If they’re without one of their key starters, their odds to advance to the quarterfinals would get even longer. It will be critical that Pulisic is able to get healthy, as he has established himself as the cornerstone player in this “Golden Generation” of US soccer.
History Between These Two Teams
The US has never met the Netherlands in the World Cup. The two teams have only met 5 times in their history with the Netherlands winning 4 of those games and the US winning 1.
It was the last meeting where the US was able to come away victorious. The US trailed the game 3-1 before coming back and winning 4-3 thanks to a Bobby Wood 90th-minute winner.
Saturday’s game between these two teams will mark the first time they will compete with each other in a non-friendly contest. The stakes will be as high as ever, as the United States tries to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals.
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