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Netherlands vs. USA: Two exciting young teams go head-to-head for a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals



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National Team

Saturday‘s round of 16 game between the US Men’s National Team and the Netherlands is one of the most intriguing matchups of the Qatar 2022 first round knockout.

Although the bookmakers have the Netherlands as the favourites, this matchup is certainly closer than that and both teams will feel confident booking a place in the quarterfinals.

Gregg Berhalter

The USMNT gave England real problems in their group stage game and probably came away from that game the most disappointed of the two teams with a 0-0 draw, while a solid win over Iran in a high-stakes game, the winner takes it. Every game showed that Gregg Berhalter’s men can perform under intense pressure.

Dijk and Barcelona

With the Netherlands sitting eighth in the FIFA world rankings, eight places above the USA, and with world-renowned talents like Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Memphis Depay, the match Saturday will be tough for the US.

Can Berhalter

Can Berhalter’s men reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002? CNN Sport takes a look.

Christian Pulisic

Of course, the main concern for the US is the fitness of star Christian Pulisic.

The Chelsea striker suffered what he called a pelvic contusion while scoring the winner in their decider against Iran, but head coach Berhalter said on Friday that Pulisic is on track to play on Saturday.

Captain America

Pulisic, nicknamed “Captain America” ​​by some American fans, told reporters Thursday that he “will do everything in my power to work with this medical team and make sure he can play.”

Luckily for US

Luckily for US fans, the USMNT tweeted from their official account Friday night that Pulisic “has been cleared to play” in the win-or-go-home game against the Dutch.

The performance against Iran, a tough but deserved 1-0 win, will have been incredibly enjoyable for Berhalter, particularly as it came against a backdrop of much tension off the pitch in the build-up.

Tyler Adams

Berhalter and captain Tyler Adams faced some tough questions from Iranian journalists at a pre-game news conference, dodging accusations of hypocrisy and disrespect.

The fact that his team was able to focus and deliver when it mattered most will give Berhalter and the US fans a great deal of confidence heading into Saturday’s game.

“From here, anything can happen,” Berhalter said before the game. “It’s a great opportunity, but it’s not something we’re going to think of as an honor. We deserve to be in the position we are in and we want to keep it that way.”

While Pulisic

While Pulisic is undoubtedly the star of the USMNT, Captain Adams has been the engine and heartbeat of the team.

The Leeds midfielder has shown poise both on and off the pitch, receiving praise for his composure and eloquence in answering such questions from Iranian journalists.

World Cup

Berhalter, whose team has yet to concede a goal in open play at this World Cup, praised his “general” after the victory against Iran.

“Tyler fits a very specific role,” Berhalter said. “He is the general, he is the strategist. He’s the guy who goes out and walks the talk. When he talks, people listen.”

World Cup

If the USA can perform as they did against England and for much of the game against Iran, a berth in the first World Cup quarterfinal since 2002 is eye-catching.

The USMNT will feel confident against a team from the Netherlands that hasn’t quite managed in Qatar.

Louis van Gaal’s side have failed to impress so far, picking up a late win against Senegal thanks to two goalkeeping errors by Édouard Mendy and scoring just one point against Ecuador in a game they were lucky not to lose.

The team’s 2-0 win over Qatar was a more convincing performance, but even that comes with the caveat that the Qataris have been poor in this tournament.

World Cup

Few would have expected the Netherlands to be a serious contender at this World Cup and head coach van Gaal, known for his pragmatism, will be pleased to see his side qualify top of Group A despite still not fitting in as a team.

The 71-year-old, currently in his third spell in charge of the Netherlands national team, responded to a reporter’s claims that his team’s performance against Qatar had been “terribly boring” and, in his pre-match press conference for the quarterfinals, he praised a “fanatical and cunning” American team.

United States

“I know from experience that matches against countries like the United States and Australia, which we met at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, are always very difficult,” van Gaal said on Thursday.

“They work very hard and are good with the ball.

United States

“The United States has shown that they have an excellent team, I would even say one of the best teams, a team that is in tune, [but] It’s nothing we can’t get past,” van Gaal added on Friday, according to Reuters.

United States

“The United States is a very energetic team, they have physically strong players and that’s difficult for any opponent, and it shows in their results, but we will do everything we can to win and beat the United States, that’s all.”

Cody Gakpo

The Netherlands managed just eight shots on goal in their three group stage matches but netted five goals, largely thanks to young star Cody Gakpo.

World Cup

The 23-year-old has likely increased his transfer value considerably in this tournament, much to the delight of Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, scoring all three of his goals with his right foot, left foot and head to lead the race for the boot of 2022 World Cup gold alongside Kylian. Mbappé, Marcus Rashford, Álvaro Morata and Enner Valencia.

Manchester United

Reports suggest Manchester United are among the clubs already looking to sign Gakpo after the World Cup and Dutch star van Dijk said the winger’s potential could see him “go to the moon and back”.

“He’s a very good player and a good boy too,” said the Liverpool defender. “What we see in training is what you see on the pitch. There is still a lot of potential and I hope he can continue to show it to us. We are very happy with him.

Van Gaal

Van Gaal added: “Things can change, but Cody has what it takes to become a star. He has a wonderful personality to become a star player because he is open-minded to anything.”

This team battled against an athletic team from Ecuador, a threat the USA will also pose, and the Netherlands will need Gakpo in his prime, along with van Dijk and midfielder de Jong, to overcome a tough test in the Americans.

Khalifa International Stadium

10 am ET at the Khalifa International Stadium.

United States: Fox Sports

United Kingdom

United Kingdom: BBC or ITV

Australian: SBS

Brazil: Sport TV

Germany: ARD, ZDF, Deutsche Telekom

Canada: Bell Media

South Africa

South Africa: SABC

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