Louis van Gaal's Netherlands advanced to the Round of 16 as Group A winners, with Cody Gakpo scoring three goals in three matches. They will meet USA who finished second in Group B, conceding just one goal so far. Inform your World Cup round of 16 predictions ahead of the first knockout round of Qatar 2022.
Van Gaal’s experience could prove crucial
The first of the round of 16 matches at the 2022 World Cup takes place on Saturday afternoon, when the Netherlands and the USA go head-to-head in Ar-Rayyan.
After winning Group A, the Dutch will go into the clash as the favourites to make the quarter-finals, as they come up against the USA, who finished runners-up in Group B.
The Europeans collected seven points from their three group matches and although they weren’t as impressive as many pundits expected them to be, they have only conceded one goal to date. The USA team also have an impressive defensive record, with Gareth Bale’s penalty for Wales the only goal they conceded in their three group matches.
In Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands have one of the most experienced coaches in the tournament and his tactical nous could prove crucial in what is likely to be a very tight affair.
Four clean sheets in their last five games show the defensive strength of the Dutch, with their three centre-backs system led by Virgil van Dijk, who is joined by Nathan Aké and Jurriën Timber.
It’s three clean sheets in four games for the USA, who used a flat back-four against Iran with their pacy full-backs proving crucial – Sergiño Dest and Antonee Robinson asked to get up and down the flanks.
There is a stark contrast, though, at the other end of the pitch, with the Netherlands having scored in each of their last 18 internationals – including five in their Group A matches.
Gregg Berhalter’s squad have scored just twice in their last five matches and their lack of an out-and-out striker is evident.
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Louis van Gaal is unlikely to make any changes to the 3-4-1-2 formation, which seems to suit the players at his disposal.
The big decision for the former Manchester United manager is who will start in the two attacking positions. Cody Gakpo has shone and is a certain starter, with Memphis Depay likely to get the nod ahead of Steven Bergwijn.
The USA have switched between a 4-4-2 and a 4-3-3 formation, and if they go with a more defensive mindset, as they did against England, it is more likely they will deploy a 4-4-2 formation at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Christian Pulisic is key to the USA team’s hopes but the Chelsea star is an injury doubt, having suffered a pelvic problem in their 1-0 win over Iran.
Netherlands vs. USA Predictions
This is likely to be a tight affair that could be decided by a single goal and the Netherlands [-104] [2.000] are expected to have the edge due to having a more attacking threat.
The USA [+364] [4.510], who have only won one of their previous five meetings against the Dutch, will look to keep the opposition at arm’s length and try and hit them on the break. The draw on the Money Line is +236 [3.230].
Gakpo has already scored three times in this tournament and could be the man who gets the key goal to take the Netherlands into the quarter-finals. While the odds to qualify (including inside the 90 minutes/extra time or on penalties), has Netherlands at -217 [1.483] and the USA +199 [2.900].
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