The knockouts begin for the USA on Saturday (10am ET). They face the Netherlands at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. Can the Stars and Stripes make it through? Or is this where the road ends for USMNT?
Read on for our full matchup preview with predictions and betting picks.
It wasn’t easy, and boy, did they have to endure a few nervy moments towards the end of the game against the Iranians, but the USA have made it to the knockout rounds, and they’ve done so without tasting defeat. It is a huge achievement for Greg Berhalter’s men, who will now look to build on the solid foundations laid in Group B.
Qualifying was a far simpler process for the Dutch. They went into the final round of group matches with a solid four points to their name. They made light work of seeing off the hosts, winning by a comfortable two-goal margin, and since they never really got out of second gear, their victory could’ve been a greater one.
What have the pair shown so far?
For USMNT, there’s been a focus on becoming hard to beat, and you have to say that they’ve done that. Despite being on the ropes for a little while during the second half of their opening game against Wales, Berhalter’s men stood firm and ground out a point.
Against the English, who have twice shown how deadly they can be in attack, the U.S. were very resilient. They nullified their opponent’s threat and delivered a disciplined tactical performance. Much of the same can be said for their effort against Iran, but on that occasion, they added a little more oomph in the final third, before once again being resolute, seeing the job out in confident fashion.
Without wowing, this U.S. team has impressed in Qatar. They have not given much away, conceding just one goal in over 270 minutes of soccer. Crucially, they have shown many of the qualities that are needed to thrive in a tournament of this nature.
With the Netherlands, there is a bit of a feeling that they have played within themselves a little. At the very least, Louis van Gaal seems intent for his team to build slowly at this tournament. Anyone who watched any of Holland’s three group games would have surely felt that they have got plenty more to offer.
Even playing in nothing like top gear, the Dutch made light work of topping Group A. Sure, they did not get nine points, but they didn’t really need to. Two wins and a tie, with five goals scored and just one against points towards a team that was not really asked many questions, and the ones they were asked, they had the answers to.
What should we expect from this game?
This is an interesting matchup. Based on what we have seen so far from this pair in Qatar, you’d have to think that it will be the Netherlands to make the running. The men in orange have some excellent ball-playing midfielders. As a result they have seen more of the ball than their opponents in each of their three games so far.
Interestingly, though, Team USA can dictate as well, and they too like to play with the ball. On top of this, both teams have pace on the break, so you would have to feel that neither would mind too much if the other one came forward.
We may also see the rear-guard of each team tested properly for the first time. Though if either team has something about them going forward, it looks to be the Dutch. They have scored three more goals than USMNT, who at times, despite lots of intricate play and promising positions, have looked a bit toothless in the final third. Their offensive cause is not going to be helped if it turns out that their match-day three scorer Christian Pulisic isn’t fit enough to start.
End of the road for the US?
Unfortunately, as well as they’ve done, this could be where the middle eastern adventure ends for Berhalter’s men. This isn’t expected to be easy for the Dutch, not at all, but when push comes to shove, van Gaal’s team simply look more equipped to score goals, and that could be the difference here.
In terms of creativity too, it is easy to feel that the men in Orange have more about them. They certainly have more players to rely upon in that aspect. Both Davy Klaasen and Frenkie de Jong create chances, as does Memphis Depay. Cody Gakpo, who at the time of writing is the joint top scorer in the competition with three goals, is far from just a finisher, as the fact that he has 12 assists in a PSV Eindhoven shirt this season suggests.
The Dutch also have numerous options off the bench, with the likes of Steven Bergwijn, Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Berghuis all capable of slotting in and making something happen.
In contrast, the US have been heavily reliant on Pulisic when it comes to fashioning opportunities, who brilliantly assisted Timothy Weah on match-day one, before scoring USA’s second goal at this tournament himself. Having been forced off against Iran thanks to an injury picked up in the process of netting, the Chelsea man may not be fit enough to start this game, and that would be a huge blow for the Stars and Stripes.
The likes of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah are all excellent ball players, and they link up well in midfield, but have they got that creative spark? We have not seen it yet.
All in all, a tight game could unfold, and the U.S. are not expected to roll over, but they lack that bit of quality in the final third. That is not something you can say about this Dutch team, who on that basis, look a good bet to emerge victorious. So the conclusion of our Netherlands vs USA predictions and betting tips for this preview is this single selection against the sportsbooks:
- Netherlands to win on the moneyline @ best odds of +100 (evens) with BetOnline.