Round of 16 set; USA-Netherlands preview

After almost two wild and dramatic weeks at the Worlds, we’ve reached the win-or-go-home portion of the tournament. Sixteen teams remain, 16 others have been eliminated and the fun continues on Saturday.

Be sure to check back on ESPN during the tournament as we bring you the latest from Qatar. Here’s what you might have missed from Friday’s World Cup events, and a look ahead to next Saturday.

– World Cup news, features, previews and more
– Stream FC Daily and Futbol Americas on ESPN+


Round of 16: Brazil, Portugal, South Korea in; Uruguay out

Here we go! The bracket for the round of 16 of the World Cup is set. Two daily games over the next four days, with the winners then setting up the quarterfinals. Here’s what we have:

Saturday 3 December (winners play each other in Quarterfinals)
Netherlands vs United States
Argentina vs Australia

Sunday 4 Dec (winners play in Quarterfinals)
France vs Poland
England versus Senegal

Monday 5 Dec (Winners play in Quarterfinals)
Japan vs Croatia
Brazil vs. South Korea

Tuesday, Dec 6 (Winners play in Quarterfinals)
Morocco vs. Spain
Portugal vs Switzerland


Wild end of group stage: Suarez’s tears, Son’s joy

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1:09

Luis Miguel Echegaray reacts to Uruguay’s heartbreaking elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In keeping with the drama we’ve seen over the past few days, Friday’s slate also brought many big moments.

Just when it looked like Uruguay would progress by beating Ghana, a last-minute goal against Portugal secured them a 2-1 win in the other Group H game – and, more importantly, a place in the knockout round.

Twelve years after Uruguay eliminated Ghana in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, thanks largely to Luis Suarez’s famous handball, Friday’s game was billed as a grudge for the Black Stars. With a two-goal lead on Friday, Uruguay seemed poised to ruin Ghana’s side once again. But as the monitors showed the result of the South Korea-Portugal game, the cameras quickly cut to Suarez, who sat on the bench and looked shocked.

Uruguay needed another goal to turn the tie break in their favor but it never came. So Ghana Schadenfreude will come from lingering images of crying Suarez burying his head in his jersey, likely the last time the 35-year-old will wear it at a World Cup.

And while Uruguayan fans were in the midst of misery, it was the complete opposite for South Korean fans across the city. With group winners Portugal tied 1-1 in injury time, Hwang Hee-chan’s 91st-minute strike sent South Korea ahead of Uruguay in the standings.

It was a particularly poignant moment for captain Son Heung-min, who is sometimes accused of trying to do too much on his own when playing for the national team. But Son’s clever play set up Hwang’s winner, and he delivered when his teammates needed him most.

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1:49

Julien Laurens recaps South Korea’s dramatic 2-1 win over Portugal that sent Son Heung-min’s team through to the FIFA World Cup Round of 16.

In Group G, Brazil had already secured a place in the Round of 16 but wanted to be the only team of the tournament to win all three group stage matches. The Brazilians, still without the injured Neymar, could not muster much against a Cameroon side eager to keep their hopes alive.

A 92nd-minute goal by Vincent Aboubakar (who was then sent off for taking off his jersey) gave the African side a small chance, but Switzerland’s 3-2 win over Serbia in the same game secured the Swiss side progress.

Brazil lost their first group-stage game since 1998 and, with neither side clinching the maximum nine points for the first time since 1994, it’s a fitting end to a wild start to the World Cup.


USA vs. Netherlands: Prepare your popcorn (and coffee).

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1:18

Christian Pulisic talks to Sam Borden about his winning goal for the USA against Iran and looks ahead to the round of 16 clash with the Netherlands.

USA fans, get your beauty sleep as you have an early date against the vaunted Netherlands, with the winner of Saturday morning’s clash set to face either Argentina or Australia.

Good news for US fans as Christian Pulisic has now been cleared for the game against the Netherlands. As you recall, Pulisic taught us what a “pelvic bruise” is after he collided with Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand as he scored the winning goal that sent the USMNT into the round of 16 on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether Pulisic can go the full 90 minutes on Saturday. Pulisic spoke to ESPN’s Sam Borden on Thursday and hinted he may have limited play.

“I will do everything in my power, with this staff and the medical team, to make sure that no matter how long I can be in this field, I will give my 110% no matter what,” Pulisic said.

Speaking of the Netherlands, manager Louis van Gaal revealed several members of his squad are battling flu symptoms, although he didn’t reveal who.

Need some reading before the game? We’ve got you covered, and join ESPN tomorrow during and after the game.

  • Tactical Preview: Can the US midfield keep the momentum? Cody Gakpo, Frenkie de Jong end Americans’ run? READ

  • Captain America: How USA’s Tyler Adams showed the world his worth on the pitch and inspirational leadership off the pitch READ

  • Dutch Date with Destiny: Saturday’s game for USA-born Dutchman Sergino Dest will be something very special READ

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1:32

Taylor Twellman believes there is no pressure on the United States ahead of the Netherlands game and says they are succeeding as underdogs.


Today’s top readings

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World Cup Vibes Ranking: USA, Japan goes best to Round of 16
Trying to rank all 32 teams by both their style of play and their results. Welcome to the Feeling Power Rankings.

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Germany’s second early World Cup elimination in a row will sting, but they’ll be fine
It hurts that the four-time winners were eliminated in the group stage again, but it’s not a disaster.

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What penalties in the World Cup group stage tell us about penalties and goalkeepers
They know they’re coming: the dreaded penalty shootout. Here’s which goalies might shine, their patterns, and more.


Your Best Bets (Odds via Caesars Sportsbook)

If you’re looking to bet on the World Cup, ESPN contributors Paul Carr, Dan Thomas and Dalen Cuff are here to give you essential tips on odds, options and futures. Here’s what we have for Saturday’s games.

Round of 16: Netherlands (-110) vs. USA (+325), draw (+235)

Paul Carr: I hope I’m not too much of a homer here, but I like USA’s double chance at -125. The Dutch failed to impress in the group stage despite seven points, being passed on 10 points and scoring just 2.4 expected goals. Having Memphis Depay back in the line-up helps but USA outplayed a better team from England so I’ll take USA to at least get that into overtime.

DanielThomas: I think this could be a copy of the English game – a close, uneventful affair. I would take 0-0 after 90 minutes.

Dalen cuff: Unlike Paul, I’m a homer here, but I think I’m entitled. This Dutch team is not a dominant squad. This US team is talented and they have refereed games at this tournament, especially against England. I like it when the US advances at +180. However, I think it will be a close affair, especially in the first half. I like 0-0 in the 1st half (+145).

Round of 16: Argentina (-540) vs. Australia (+1600), draw (+525)

Automobile: Australia made it through to the knockout stage, but that doesn’t mean they’re a particularly good team. Argentina had the third most expected goals (6.3) and expected goal difference (+5.5) in the group stage, and Australia finished 30th with 1.7 expected goals and 31st with a goal difference of -4.1 . Place. Argentina also has Lionel Messi. I like to put the 1.5 goals at -160 and Argentina lures -2.5 at +170.

Thomas: That must be an Argentine victory. So where can we find some value in this game? I take an Angel Di Maria assist at +125.

Cuff: There is no value here. I’m not ready to lay the 2.5 to get into plus money so I’ll pass.


News and Notes


What else we noticed

A heartwarming scene during Brazil’s national anthem before the team’s game against Cameroon on Friday. Fans unveiled a tifo for Brazilian legend Pele, who has been in a Sao Paulo hospital with a respiratory infection since Tuesday.

The 82-year-old and three-time world champion thanked fans for the well wishes he’s received while battling cancer in an Instagram post late Thursday. He had a colon tumor removed in September 2021 and has since undergone chemotherapy.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/4823431/2022-world-cup-round-of-16-set-usa-netherlands-preview-saturdays-best-bets Round of 16 set; USA-Netherlands preview

Emma Bowman

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