After almost two wild and dramatic weeks at the World Cup, we have now reached the win or go home part of the tournament. Sixteen teams remain, another 16 have been eliminated and the fun continues on Saturday.
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Here we go! The group for the round of 16 of the World Cup is defined. Two games daily for the next four days, with the winners then setting up the quarterfinal matches.
Luis Miguel Echegaray picks a bold World Cup group on ESPN FC Daily.
Here is the full schedule:
Wild final of the group stage: Suárez’s tears, Son’s joyplay
Luis Miguel Echegaray reacts to Uruguay’s heartbreaking exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In keeping with the drama we’ve seen in the past few days, Friday’s list also brought a lot of great moments.
Just when it looked as though Uruguay would advance by beating Ghana, a last-gasp goal by South Korea against Portugal gave them a 2-1 win in the other Group H match and, more importantly, a place in the round of 16
Group HGPWDLGDPTS1 – Portugal3201+262 – South Korea3111043 – Uruguay3111044 – Ghana3102-23The first two countries qualify for the round of 16
Twelve years after Uruguay eliminated Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals thanks in large part to Luis Suárez’s famous handball, Friday’s game was billed as a grudge match for the Black Stars. Up by two goals on Friday, Uruguay looked set to crash Ghana’s party yet again. But when the monitors showed the score of the South Korea-Portugal game, the cameras quickly showed Suárez sitting on the bench, looking shocked.
Uruguay needed another goal to turn the tiebreaker in their favor, but it never came. So Ghana’s schadenfreude will come from the enduring images of Suárez crying burying her head in his jersey, probably the last time the 35-year-old has worn it at a World Cup.
And while the Uruguayan fans were in misery, it was the complete opposite for the South Korean supporters across the city. With the game against group champions Portugal tied 1-1 as stoppage time approached, Hwang Hee-chan’s 91st-minute goal ensured that South Korea would finish ahead of Uruguay in the standings.
It was an especially moving moment for captain Son Heung-min, who has at times been accused of trying to do too much when playing for the national team. But clever play by Son set up Hwang’s game-winning goal, and he delivered when his teammates needed it most.
Julien Laurens sums up South Korea’s dramatic 2-1 victory over Portugal that sends Son Heung-min’s team to the round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup.
In Group G, Brazil had already secured a place in the round of 16, but were aiming to finish as the only team in the entire tournament to win all three group stage matches. Still playing without the injured Neymar, the Brazilians couldn’t do much against a Cameroon side looking to keep their hopes alive.
Group GGPWDLGDPTS1 – Brazil3201+262 – Switzerland3201+163 – Cameroon3111044 – Serbia3012-31The first two countries qualify for the round of 16
A 92nd-minute goal from Vincent Aboubakar (who was later sent off for removing his shirt in celebration) gave the African team a slim chance, but Switzerland’s 3-2 win over Serbia in the same game ensured that the Swiss they would advance.
Brazil lost their first group game since 1998, and with neither team earning the maximum nine points for the first time since 1994, it’s a fitting way to end what has been a wild start to the World Cup.
USA vs. The Netherlands: Prepare your popcorn (and coffee) to play
Christian Pulisic talks to Sam Borden about his game-winning goal for the USA vs. Iran and looks ahead to the round of 16 clash with the Netherlands.
USA fans, get some restful sleep as you have an early date against the Netherlands, with the winner of Saturday morning’s matchup facing either Argentina or Australia.
Hérculez Gómez and Sebastián Salazar discuss the biggest stories and analyze the best moments that soccer has to offer in the Americas. Stream on ESPN+ (US only)
Good news for the American fans, as Christian Pulisic can now play against the Dutch. As you may recall, Pulisic taught us what a “pelvic concussion” is after colliding with Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand when he scored Tuesday’s game-winner that sent USMNT to the Round of 16.
It’s unclear if Pulisic can play the full 90 minutes on Saturday. Speaking with ESPN’s Sam Borden on Thursday, Pulisic hinted that he may be limited in how long he can play.
“I’m going to do everything in my power, with this staff and medical equipment, to make sure that no matter how long I may be in that field, I’ll be giving my 110% no matter what,” Pulisic said. .
As for the Netherlands, coach Louis van Gaal revealed that several members of his team are battling flu symptoms, although he did not reveal who.
Need reading material before the game? We’ve got you covered, and be sure to catch up with ESPN tomorrow during and after the game.
Tactical Advance: Can the US midfield keep up the momentum? Will Cody Gakpo, Frenkie de Jong end the Americans’ streak? READ
Captain America: How American Tyler Adams showed the world his courage on the pitch and his inspiring leadership READ
Dutch date with destiny: Born in the Netherlands, Saturday’s game for American Sergino Dest will be very special READ
Taylor Twellman believes there is no pressure on the United States ahead of their match against the Netherlands, saying they thrive as underdogs.
Today’s best reads
World Cup Vibe Rankings: USA and Japan Feel Better Entering the Round of 16
Trying to rank all 32 teams by both how they played and what their results were. Welcome to the Power Ranking of just feeling it.
Germany‘s second consecutive elimination before the World Cup will hurt, but they will be fine
It sure hurts that the four-time winners have been knocked out in the group stage again, but this one isn’t a disaster.
What the World Cup group stage penalties tell us about penalty kicks and goalkeepers
You know they’re coming: The dreaded penalty shootouts. These are the goalkeepers who could shine, their bosses and more.
Your best bets (odds via Caesars Sportsbook)
If you’re looking to bet on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are here to provide key tips on odds, options and futures. This is what we have for Saturday’s games.
Round of 16: Netherlands (-110) vs. USA (+325), Draw (+235)
Paul Carr: I hope I’m not hitting a lot of home runs here, but I like the US double chance at -125. The Dutch failed to impress despite seven points in the group stage, being outscored by 10 and racking up just 2.4 expected goals. Having Memphis Depay back in the lineup helps, but the US got past a better England team, so I’ll get the US to at least take this to OT.
Daniel Thomas: I think this could be a carbon copy of the England game – a tight, uneventful affair. It would take 0-0 after 90 minutes.
Dalen Cuff: Unlike Paul, I’m being a home run here, but I think I’m justified. This Dutch team is not a dominant team. This USA team is talented and has dominated the matches in this tournament, most notably against England. I like the US to advance at +180. However, I think this is going to be a tight affair, especially in the first half. I like the 0-0 in the first half (+145).
Round of 16: Argentina (-540) vs. Australia (+1600), Draw (+525)
Carr: Australia advanced to the knockout stage, but that doesn’t mean they’re a particularly good team. Argentina had the third most expected goals (6.3) and expected goal difference (+5.5) in the group stage, and Australia ranked 30th with 1.7 expected goals and 31st with a difference of goals of -4.1. Also, Argentina has Lionel Messi. I will gladly put the 1.5 goals at -160, and I am tempted by Argentina -2.5 at +170.
Thomas: This has to be a victory for Argentina. So where can we find any value in this game? I will take an assist from Ángel Di María at +125.
Cuff: There is no value here. I’m not willing to bet the 2.5 for more money, so I’m going to check.
News and notesWhat else caught our attention
A moving scene during Brazil’s national anthem ahead of the team’s game against Cameroon on Friday. Fans released a typhus for Brazilian legend Pele, who has been in a Sao Paulo hospital with a respiratory infection since Tuesday.
Brazil fans hold ‘Pelé get well soon’ during the national anthem ❤️🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/xlRC7XqiaL
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) December 2, 2022
The 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner thanked fans in an Instagram post on Thursday night for the well wishes he received in the fight against cancer. He had a colon tumor removed in September 2021 and has since received chemotherapy.