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The odds for Netherlands vs USA have been sourced from the FanDuel sportsbook, which is giving out a $1000 no-sweat first bet to new customers.
Back a draw or USA in the double chance market. The Stars and Stripes should not be written off and we believe they can take this match to extra time - or perhaps even win it inside 90 minutes.
The Netherlands advanced from Group A with seven points from a possible nine, but it was not entirely plain sailing for Louis van Gaal’s side. Their opening game against Senegal looked set to be heading for a draw, only for the Dutch to score two late goals.
They were then outplayed by Ecuador on matchday two, when the Netherlands picked up a point only because of their opponents’ wasteful finishing. A 2-0 triumph over Qatar was comfortable enough, but it is hard to reach too much into a result against the World Cup 2022 hosts, who have been shown to be out of their depth at this level.
The Netherlands were viewed as potential outsiders to win this competition by the best online sportsbooks, but they will need to improve their performance levels if they are to mount a serious challenge.
There has been little rhythm to their play so far. Key men are struggling with either form or fitness. Frenkie de Jong has shone in midfield and Cody Gakpo has three goals in as many appearances, but the majority of that duo’s team-mates have failed to catch the eye.
The Netherlands have only landed eight shots on target so far. After taking the lead against Ecuador early on, they managed just one more attempt on goal for the rest of the game. In their first two matches there was not much in the way of sharp, snappy interplay or sustained attacks.
Van Gaal will know that this team needs to pick things up in the knockouts. Many World Cup winners started slowly in the group stage before growing into the tournament, and Netherlands fans will be hoping their side peaks at the right moment in Qatar. Right now, though, they still have some convincing to do.
The USA held their nerve on Tuesday, beating Iran 1-0 to qualify for the knockout phase of the World Cup for the third time in the last four editions. Only a win would have been enough for Gregg Berhalter’s side, who handled the occasion extremely well. It was a deserved triumph to secure second spot in Group B for the Stars and Stripes.
The result also meant the USA went unbeaten in the group stage following back-to-back draws with Wales and England in their previous outings.
In the six halves of soccer they contested, the Americans played well in five of them. They had to be defensively dogged at times, namely against England and in the second half against Iran. On other occasions, they were bright and purposeful in attack.
This side is not without its weaknesses. The USA sometimes struggle to create clear-cut chances in the final third, even when they have lots of the ball. None of the options at center-forward is overly convincing. The attack-minded full-backs can sometimes be exploited when they leave space in behind.
But the USA also have plenty going for them. A midfield trio composed of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah is excellent. Tim Weah and, in particular, Christian Pulisic provide thrust and skill out wide. And those aforementioned full-backs, Sergino Dest and Antonee Robinson, are effective in attack. Dest in particular was superb against Iran.
One thing that could work in the USA’s favor is the fact that, before the big kick-off last month, no one really expected them to reach the quarter-finals. Anything more from this point onwards would be a bonus.
The USA’s best chance of overcoming the Netherlands will be by getting in their faces. Few sides in this competition can match the Americans for athleticism, and they should look to use that asset to their advantage here. If they allow De Jong time on the ball, for instance, they will make life harder for themselves.
There might also be space for them to exploit behind the Dutch wing-backs. Matthijs de Ligt was run ragged by Senegal forward Ismaila Sarr when he was forced to cover in behind Denzel Dumfries on matchday one.
Jurrien Timber is now playing as the right-sided center-half and he is more mobile than De Ligt, but the USA should still look to drag him and Nathan Ake out of the middle.
Pulisic is expected to start despite the injury he sustained against Iran, and USA fans will hope and pray that the team’s talisman is fully fit. At the other end, they must try and get a handle on Memphis Depay and Gakpo, the dangermen in attack.
The Netherlands deserve their status as favorites and they have better individual players than the USA, but Van Gaal’s charges have been largely underwhelming up to now. Do not put it past Berhlater’s boys springing a surprise in the first round of 16 tie at World Cup 2022.
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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