The Netherlands, who were widely predicted to win Group A and proceed to the round of 16, did not let the Oranje faithful down, earning seven points from their three games despite a minor slip-up against Ecuador.
With his well-taken opening goal against Qatar on Tuesday, rising star Cody Gakpo became just the fourth player in Netherlands history to score in three straight World Cup games. Frenkie de Jong also contributed with a tap-in to guarantee a first-place finish and send the hosts home empty-handed and without a point.
Even though the Netherlands have only attempted eight shots on goal during this World Cup, Van Gaal has allayed any concerns as the 2010 runners-up get set to face the knockout stages of the tournament once more.
The Netherlands have amassed a remarkable 18-game unbeaten streak across all competitions since being eliminated from Euro 2020 by the Czech Republic.
And Van Gaal is now out to record an 11th World Cup game without defeat – going level with second-placed Mario Zagallo and one behind the all-time record of 12 held by Felipe Scolari.
Christian Pulisic, the star player for the USA, put his body on the line for the team, suffering an injury that required hospitalisation, and scoring the game’s lone goal in their final Group B match against Iran to advance his team to the knockout rounds of football’s most prestigious competition.
When Pulisic sprinted into space and scored from close range in the 38th minute, Gregg Berhalter’s team was able to move ahead of Iran and into second place behind England, setting up a tantalising matchup with the Dutch.
The United States also advanced to the round of 16 in 2010 and 2014 before being eliminated, and they most recently made it to the quarterfinals in 2002, but recent World Cup history against European nations does not favour Berhalter’s team.
In fact, the USA hasn’t defeated a UEFA team at a World Cup since 2002; instead, they’ve drawn with them six times and lost five times. Additionally, the USA’s three previous World Cup knockout matches against European nations have all resulted in losses.
1×2 Betting Odds
Netherlands are the favourites to win this one with their odds @ 1.97.
And the US, who have a bad record against European teams are the underdogs with odds @ 4.6.
The chance that this match ends in a draw after the 90 minutes are played, stands @ 3.4.
The Netherlands may not work the goalkeeper that much – as evidenced by their lack of shots on target – but the ruthlessness of Gakpo and the rest of Van Gaal’s crop still makes them a highly formidable foe.
A stellar defensive record will also come in handy for the Dutch, and with the USA potentially having the likes of McKennie and Pulisic not quite at full fitness, it just might be the Dutch that make the Quarter finals.
Total goals over/under
The odds that the total number of goals score will be over 2.5, stands @ 2.44.
While the odds that the total number of goals will be under 2.5, stands @ 1.65.