The World Cup draw has suddenly become interesting for the United States

They become Dutch.

After the turmoil of two tournament-opening draws and the thrill of a tense 1-0 win over Iran on Tuesday, the United States landed where so many pre-World Cup predictions had them. – in the round of 16 and against the Netherlands.

Yes, Saturday’s showdown between the Red, White and Blue and the Oranje is basically the result of the chalk. Then it might get interesting.

« I always say it’s us against the world, » said Tim Weah. « Because no one believed that the United States could play good football, and we’re just trying to show the world. … I’m just very happy that we reached the next round, and it’s a great day.

It wasn’t your uncle’s Netherlands team, which popularized total football, or even the edition that finished third in the 2014 World Cup under current coach Louis van Gaal – like the States United, she did not even qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and was left reeling from a knockout round last summer at the Euros. It is perhaps more reminiscent of the transitioning Belgian side against whom USA lost 2-1 in extra time in the last 16 in 2014.

Dutch star Cody Gakpo scores a goal in their 2-0 World Cup win over hosts Qatar.
AFP via Getty Images

The Dutch won Group A with two wins and a draw and a goal differential of 5-1, but the underlying stats don’t flatter them. They were outshot 35-25 over the three games, including 11-8 on shots on target, and were credited with just 2.3 expected goals, while their opponents had an aggregate of 2.7.

Dutch striker Cody Gakpo may have been the star of the tournament, scoring three killer goals accompanied by imaginary cash register sound effects – the 23-year-old will transfer from PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands to one of the super European clubs. Before a long time. The imposing Virgil van Dijk anchors the defense and Frenkie de Jong is instrumental in midfield.

Looking even further, if the Americans overtake the Netherlands, they will face either the winner of Group C or the runners-up from Group D in the quarter-finals on December 9.

That line in the bracket has been drawn for Argentina, as big favorites in Group C – but the Argentines have faltered so much they are in danger of being knocked out on Wednesday and could certainly finish second in their group.

If Argentina does indeed go home unhappy or move to the other side of the table as a « 2C » team, the United States would play for a place in the quarters against countries like Poland, Denmark, Australia or even Saudi Arabia. The Americans would even be favorites in some of these clashes.


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