After a gaggle stage stuffed with twists and turns, the enterprise finish of the match kicks off with 16 groups dreaming of plotting a path to the ultimate in Doha in simply over a fortnight.
The USA and the Netherlands open the second spherical on the Khalifa Stadium on Sunday (2am AEDT), with the Americans aiming to advance to the quarter-finals for the primary time since 2002. The winner will face both Argentina or Australia, Sunday morning’s different match (6am).
The USA, just like the Netherlands, did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup however have impressed in Qatar, drawing with Wales and England earlier than beating Iran to complete second behind England.
While the Dutch possess the better historic pedigree, reaching three earlier World Cup finals, the USA head into the knockout rounds brimming with confidence.
“It’s an awesome alternative, however it’s not one thing that we’re going into it pondering it’s an honour,” Coach Gregg Berhalter stated. “We should be within the place we’re in.”
Captain Tyler Adams declared “We have that American mentality that in a playoff setting, we could be the underdogs however something can occur.”
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The US face a Dutch group who completed first in Group A with 2-0 victories over Senegal and Qatar and a 1-1 draw in opposition to Ecuador. But the heavyweights haven’t confirmed their finest type – and a conservative game-plan has drawn brutal criticism again house.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal is unbeaten in a file 10 World Cup matches as a coach, having additionally led the Dutch to a third-placed end in 2014 in Brazil, the place they misplaced to Argentina on penalties within the semi-finals.
But the Dutch press have repeatedly criticised his techniques, saying the present group is just too pragmatic and doesn’t play the attacking type for which the Netherlands first turned identified within the Seventies.
“In 2014 it was precisely the identical, it was not totally different. It was very detrimental,” Van Gaal advised a pre-match press convention.
“But, very same factor now, standard, so I’m used to it and I believe my gamers are additionally used to it.
“So we’re going to calmly proceed on the trail that we’ve launched into.”
Van Gaal can be cautious of the menace posed by the energetic Americans, describing Berhalter’s group as the most effective within the match.
“They have a superb group, I might say even the most effective groups,” stated Van Gaal.
“It’ll be a troublesome match however it’s nothing we will’t overcome. We even have group.
“But I’m not going to downplay the USA. I believe they’re an instance of what group is.”
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Cody Gakpo has been a standout for the Netherlands.Source: AFP
WHO TO WATCH
Dutch ahead Cody Gakpo was the one participant to attain in all three group video games — carrying over his red-hot type for PSV Eindhoven onto the most important stage. Gakpo’s header within the Netherlands’ opening match in opposition to Senegal broke the impasse late on in a 2-0 victory. He drilled the Dutch forward with a fierce left-footed drive in opposition to Ecuador in a 1-1 draw and once more set the Oranje on their approach with one other tidy end on his proper as they cantered to a 2-0 win over Qatar.
“He has every little thing it takes to turn into a star,” stated Netherlands coach Louis Van Gaal.
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Christian Pulisic might have the “Captain America” nickname, however there isn’t a doubt about who’s the USA’s chief on the World Cup.
From the second he was named skipper by US coach Gregg Berhalter on the eve of the match, Tyler Adams has been an inspirational captain — on and off the pitch.
The 23-year-old defensive midfielder was arguably the important thing determine within the USA’s journey into the final 16. In Tuesday’s nerve-shredding 1-0 win over Iran — the Leeds midfielder was a towering presence, a beacon of calm authority in a recreation that ended with the Americans underneath siege. His 9 tackles received within the match is second solely to Morocco’s Achraf Hakimi.
“His management has been important to us from day one,” Berhalter stated. “In this World Cup, he’s been extraordinarily centered and his play has been excellent over the course of those three video games. He’s been performing lights out.
“When you begin speaking about captain sorts, Tyler suits a really particular function. He’s the overall, he’s the strategist. He’s the man that goes on the market and leads by instance. When he talks, individuals hear.”
There was a significant concern over American star Christian Pulisic after he suffered a pelvic contusion following a heavy collision whereas scoring the profitable aim in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over Iran.
The 24-year-old was subsequently substituted and went to hospital following the sport for exams.
But he returned to coaching on Friday and was formally cleared to play, as introduced by the US group.
However, there stay issues over Norwich striker Sargent, who additionally picked up a knock within the win over Iran. “With Christian we’re hopeful, with (Josh) rather less so,” Berhalter stated. “But we’ll see. At this stage of the match it’s go time. If you possibly can push via it, you do. I’m certain he’ll have that mindset.”
MATCH CENTRE: Line-ups, stay stats, and extra
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