The Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup starts tonight with the match between the Netherlands and the USA. At the Khalifa International Stadium, the first game of the knock-out stage will start at 6 pm local time.
The Netherlands qualified for the last 16 from Group A as the Group champion. Moreover, the Netherlands are among the three teams to earn the highest seven points from the group round. On the other hand, the USA played very energetic football in their group. They didn’t concede a goal against England. However, the USA secured their place in the knock-out round as the 2nd team from Group B.
Stats and Records
The Netherlands have never played against the USA in the FIFA World Cup. But they played five friendlies before. Netherlands won the first four matches against the USA. However, they lost their most recent clash against the USA in 2015.
The Netherlands have a strong record against Non-European teams. They are unbeaten in 19 world cup games against non-European teams. Moreover, the Dutches have reached at least quarter-finals in four of their last five world cups.
Luis Van Gaal, the manager of the Netherlands, is concerned about injury issues in his squad. Defender Jeremie Frimpong is in doubt ahead of the USA clash. He suffered an injury scare with his ankle. However, Denzel Dumfries is an option for the manager to replace Frimpong.
As for the USA, Christian Pulisic has been suffering a pelvic contusion while scoring the winner against Iran. The medical team is monitoring him daily. Moreover, the USA boss will wait for the captain until the last.
Luis Van Gaal praises the USA
During the pre-match press conference, the Dutch boss Luis Van Gaal talked about the USA. He said, “U.S.A, that is a very energetic squad with physically strong players and that is tough for any opponent.You can tell from their results. But hey, we will do everything we can to win, to beat U.S.A.”
Van Gaal also appreciated the manager of the USA. “What I observe is a vision, what I see is a team that is keen to execute that vision, which is of the utmost importance. And I see the conviction, especially the conviction of the players. So that for a coach must be fantastic,” Luis Van Gaal stated.