The knockout stage of World Cup 2022 gets underway on Saturday and we have previewed all the action here.
The USA will be looking to cause an upset against the Netherlands, while Argentina will hope to avoid the banana skin that is a meeting with Australia.
Focusing on prop bets - a type of wager which considers in-game events rather than the final result - we have made some tips for the first two last-16 ties in Qatar.
The odds for December 3 are from the DraftKings sportsbook. Sign up today to receive a deposit bonus worth up to $1000.
The USA deserve great credit for how they handled Tuesday’s must-win game against Iran. They played on the front foot in the first half and took the lead while they were on top, then defended with resolve and organization after the break.
The Netherlands amassed seven points from a possible nine in Group A, but their performances were not especially convincing. Louis van Gaal’s side were fortunate to avoid defeat by Ecuador after being outplayed on matchday two, and Gregg Berhalter will no doubt have noted how the South Americans’ energy and dynamism caused the Netherlands problems.
The USA started quickly against both Wales and Iran, and they will look to do the same on Saturday. At such an attractive price, it is worth backing them to break the deadlock.
Even if they do find the net first, the USA may struggle to keep a clean sheet. They have defended pretty well so far, keeping both England and Iran at bay. Indeed, the only goal they have let in came from the penalty spot, as Gareth Bale beat Matt Turner on matchday one.
The Netherlands will hope that their underwhelming group stage displays give way to something more impressive in the knockouts. Memphis Depay is close to full fitness now and Cody Gakpo has emerged as a potential start of the tournament with three goals in three games.
The USA can expect to be put under sustained pressure at times on Saturday. They resisted that well against England, holding Gareth Southgate’s side at arm’s length for the most part, but we fancy both teams to score in this one.
Argentina strolled to a 2-0 victory over Poland on Wednesday that booked their place in the knockout phase. Lionel Scaloni appears to have found his best team and the Albiceleste now have a bit of momentum behind them, bouncing back well from that shock 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.
Australia have done remarkably well to reach the last 16. This is not the most talented generation of players the country has ever produced, but no one can doubt the character, spirit and tactical intelligence of Graham Arnold’s squad.
Still, this could be a bridge too far for the Socceroos. Argentina will aim to make a quick start, pinning Australia back as they look for an early breakthrough. A goal in the first half an hour is a distinct possibility.
Lautaro Martinez dropped down to the bench against Poland and he will probably stay there on Saturday. Argentina looked more fluid with Lionel Messi as a false nine and Angel Di Maria and Julian Alvarez on either side of them. The Manchester City forward was bright and purposeful, and it was his fantastic finish that doubled Argentina’s lead midway through the second half.
Martinez is actually more fancied by the best online sportsbooks to score anytime, but Alvarez would be the much better pick. Not only is he more likely to start, but will often be Argentina’s most advanced player as Australia sit deep and Messi drops back to get on the ball.
Argentina may well end up scoring a few goals on Saturday, and we like Alvarez’s chances of notching at least one of them.
Dates: November 20 - December 18
How to Watch: Fox Sports, Telemundo, fuboTV
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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