Today’s match between the U.S. men’s national team and the Netherlands is one of the more intriguing matches in the first round of Qatar’s 2022 knockout round.
The two teams meet at 10 a.m. ET at the Khalifa International Stadium outside Doha.
While the bookmakers see Holland as the odds-on favorite, the match feels closer than that, with both teams confident of securing a place in the quarter-finals.
Of course, Team USA’s biggest concern is the health of star player Christian Pulisic.
The striker, dubbed “Captain America” by some US fans, suffered what he called a pelvic contusion when he scored the winner in a crucial game against Iran. He will play today, according to the team, but fans will be anxiously watching to see if his injury shows any signs of affecting his performance.
While Pulisic is undoubtedly the star of the USMNT, captain Tyler Adams has been the engine and heartbeat of the team. Look for him to command the field on Saturday.
Surrounding the talented midfielder was a formidable US side who gave England real trouble in the group stage and held out a solid victory over Iran in a high-stakes showdown. They looked calm and sharp in many parts of Qatar.
Holland may be dangerous, but it has yet to put everything together in Qatar, with its most complete performance coming from a struggling host nation.
While the Netherlands had just eight shots on target in their three games in the group stage, the team managed five goals, thanks in no small part to star youngster Kodi Gakpo.
The 23-year-old has scored with his right foot, left foot and header, alongside Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford, Alvaro Morata and Ennel Valencia Together lead the race for the 2022 World Cup Golden Boot.
The team is struggling with an athletic Ecuadorian team, and it’s a threat that young American players will also pose. The Netherlands will need Gakpo at his best – along with defender Virgil van Dijk and midfielder Frenkie de Jong – to get through the stern test against the United States.