The United States and Netherlands: A Round of 16 Preview & More Trending News


DOHA, Qatar — When the World Cup draw was held in April, even probably the most informal of soccer followers might have predicted that the United States and the Netherlands would meet within the spherical of 16.

The Netherlands, maybe one of the best nation to by no means win a World Cup, cruised as anticipated to the highest of its first-round group, recording two wins and a tie. The United States, a younger group nonetheless discovering its footing on soccer’s largest stage, completed second in its group behind England, with two ties and a win.

In that sense, issues have gone principally in response to plan. The problem for the Americans, now, is discovering a approach to subvert one other anticipated consequence and pull off a victory.

“We’ve been watching Holland for the last 11 months, watching all their games,” United States Coach Gregg Berhalter stated on Friday afternoon. “We’ve had multiple people at their group-stage games, watching live.” He added, “We’ve really done a deep dive on them.”

The Americans’ tactical planning, Berhalter stated, kicked into overdrive virtually from the second his group beat Iran, 1-0, on Tuesday evening to clinch a spot within the knockout spherical and seal Saturday’s matchup.

In a information convention Friday, Berhalter and midfielder Tyler Adams, the American captain, had been full of reward for the Dutch, who completed third on the 2014 World Cup earlier than failing to qualify for the 2018 event. (The Dutch and their coach, to nobody’s shock, tossed bouquets proper again.)

But Adams nodded to some of the spectacular upsets within the group stage of this event — Japan’s wins over Germany and Spain, Tunisia’s defeat of France — as proof that issues don’t all the time play out as they need to on paper. Sometimes, the higher group doesn’t win. Sometimes, it’s not even the higher group.

“I think you can look at a lot of the games so far in this World Cup and use them as motivation,” Adams stated. “A lot of teams that might be underdogs in these games have come out on top, and that just shows that in these games it comes down to the moments, how focused you can stay over 90 minutes.”

The knockout stage, the Americans stated, supplied a unique, much more intense problem than group play did.

Berhalter stated he must alter his lineup and substitution patterns, for instance, with the understanding that the sport might run greater than 120 minutes, given the likelihood of further time if it had been tied after regulation. He stated the gamers this week had additionally been engaged on penalty kicks. They had been planning to observe them once more Friday.

Among the extra urgent questions dealing with the Americans earlier than the weekend was the standing of Christian Pulisic, the group’s most harmful attacking participant. Pulisic scored the group’s solely aim in its win over Iran however sustained an damage on the play — described by the group as a pelvic contusion — within the course of. Pulisic tried to play on after he was damage, however he ended up leaving the sport at halftime to go to the hospital.

Berhalter on Friday was optimistic about Pulisic’s readiness to face the Netherlands, however — simply as Pulisic did on Thursday — he stopped quick of saying for positive that his star would play.

“What I think is, it looks pretty good, but we’ll have to see him today on the pitch to get confirmation of that,” Berhalter stated.

The Netherlands can have been prepared for this second, too, even when its ambitions lie someplace past this spherical.

Coach Louis van Gaal on Friday hit again at critics within the Netherlands who’ve bemoaned the group’s overly pragmatic — boring, some would possibly say — method to profitable the group. Van Gaal, a famously assured and irascible coach, stated he heard the identical critiques whereas main his nation to the semifinals in 2014.

Van Gaal additionally stated he had not watched the Americans play till their opening match of this World Cup. But he stated he was impressed by what he had seen.

“The U.S.A. has demonstrated that it has an excellent team — I would even say one of the best teams, a team that is fine-tuned,” he stated. “It’s going to be a very tough match. But it’s nothing we can’t overcome.”

Van Gaal praised the Americans for his or her cohesion beneath Berhalter. He famous that some groups superior on the power of the person skills of their gamers, whereas others, such because the United States, discovered power of their unity and willingness to struggle for his or her coach and teammates.

“What I have observed is a vision,” van Gaal stated of the U.S. group. “What I see is a team that is keen to execute the vision. I see especially the conviction of the players, and that for a coach must be fantastic.”

Van Gaal was open on Friday about his group’s ambition to win the entire event, saying the Netherlands was making ready as if it had one other 4 matches to go.

The United States refused to look past the one instantly in entrance of it.

“From defense all the way to their attacking players, every single player plays at a high level,” Adams stated of the Netherlands. “Going into this game, we know we’re going to have to be up for the fight because when you’re playing against that much quality, yeah, you’re able to limit them. But for how long?”

The United States and Netherlands: A Round of 16 Preview

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The United States and Netherlands: A Round of 16 Preview

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