USA-Netherlands World Cup scouting report: How USMNT can beat Virgil van Dijk, Cody Gakpo, Louis van Gaal

Against Saturday at 10 a.m. ET, the United States men’s national team will take on the Netherlands in the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The victor advances to the quarterfinals, a stage the United States hasn’t reached since 2002. On Saturday, they compete against a nation that, like them, did not make it to the 2018 World Cup.

After surviving Group B with a crucial victory over Iran on Matchday 3, the Americans have a lot to play for in this game. The winner advances to play either Argentina or Australia in the quarterfinals. Here is a complete bracket breakdown.

The Netherlands has been a dominant force in soccer for a very long time and is regarded as the best nation to never win the World Cup after losing in the final twice. But even though this version differs greatly from previous ones, it has the ability to make another strong World Cup run.

Check out our scouting report for more information, and while you’re at it, subscribe to our new newsletter here to get regular updates about the World Cup and other coverage of the beautiful game.

The 26-man Netherlands World Cup roster

  • Goalkeepers: Remko Pasveer (Ajax), Andries Noppert, Justin Bijlow (Feyenoord) (Heerenveen).
  • Defenders include Tyrell Malacia of Manchester United, Nathan Ake of Manchester City, Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool, Matthijs de Ligt of Bayern Munich, Jurrien Timber of Ajax, Stefan de Vrij of Inter Milan, Daley Blind of Ajax, Denzel Dumfries of Inter Milan, and Jeremie Frimpong of Ajax (Bayer Leverkusen).
    Xavi Simons (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (Atalanta), Davy Klaassen (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Steven Berghuis (Ajax), and Kenneth Taylor are all midfielders (Ajax).
    Ajax’s Steven Bergwijn, Barcelona’s Memphis Depay, PSV’s Cody Gakpo, Royal Antwerp’s Vincent Janssen, PSV’s Luuk de Jong, Besiktas’ Wout Weghorst, and Noa Lang are forwards (Club Brugge).

USA vs. Netherlands World

Structure and fashion

With wingbacks Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries moving up the field, the Dutch play a 3-4-1-2 formation that may easily be changed to four on the back. Frenkie de Jong is positioned in the middle to serve as the distributor, and they enjoy finding diagonal runs in their attacks. Despite having five goals in the competition, they are the worst in offence and the strongest in the centre-back position. They focus more on quality than numbers when it comes to chances for creation.

Their trainer is who?

legendarily successful Dutchman Louis van Gaal. This is the third time that the 71-year-old former manager of Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United is in charge of the Oranje. He has won a title at each team he has coached, including Ajax, when he won the Champions League as a coach. He was again in charge in 2014, when they came in third at the World Cup in Brazil after defeating Brazil in the third-place game but losing to Argentina in the semifinals.

Which player is their best?

For the past few years, the imposing centre defender for Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk, has been widely regarded as the finest in the league. While he hasn’t been at his best lately, just like his club, he did tear his ACL in October 2020 and was sidelined for nine months, but even at 90%, van Dijk is superior to most other centre-backs at the World Cup. He is as proficient technically as they come, has the capacity to win games in the air, and can devastate you in set-piece attacks. It may be a long day for the forward who wears the red, white, and blue if you want to teach someone how to defend in a one-on-one situation.

Another player to be concerned about is who?


This is Cody Gakpo. The 23-year-old phenom is illuminating the competition; as of Thursday, he was tied for first place in scoring with Kylian Mbappe of France, Marcus Rashford of England, and Enner Valencia of Ecuador.

At 6-foot-4, he is an impressively large player who can also play as a centre forward, attacking mid or even a wing.

Garko was examined carefully by our James Benge, who also discussed how the United States can stop him. To stop a player who is regarded as one of the best young starters in the game, this backline will need to work together.

What they excel at

First of all, they are just effective. Currently, they are one of just two teams to have finished the group stage with just one goal allowed on defence. Who else? United States. They managed to defeat the Africans and draw the South Americans despite being blatantly outplayed by Senegal and Ecuador.

Despite having some speed, the Dutch attack more methodically and patiently than other nations do. As we witnessed in Ecuador against an athletic defence, they have controlled 57% of the possession so far. In the group stage’s 1-1 tie, the Ecuadorians had 15 shots while the Dutch only had two.

The Netherlands’ amazing offensive efficiency, with five goals scored in eight shots on goal, has carried the team.

What they struggle with

Sometimes the attack is overly formulaic and devoid of originality, but they still manage to score. They have a great deal of individual talent that hasn’t quite come together, but at least they’re seeing progress. They struggle when attacking defenders one-on-one, for example. They have only attempted 22 take-ons at the cup, winning 12, placing them 26th overall among all teams.

They aren’t a team that will likely attract your attention while watching because they frequently play it around the back, attempt to compel the opposing team to commit, and then provide a threat. But they haven’t lost in 18 games, so it’s working. They’ve managed to score at least two goals in seven of their last nine outings.

However, the midfield can be vulnerable to pressure, and the Americans are expected to press rather than allow them to settle in and establish the tempo.

USA vs. Netherlands World Cup scouting

How to watch and the chances

  • Time: 10 a.m. ET on Saturday, December 3, 2019.
    Location: Al Rayyan, Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium
    Fox; fuboTV for live streaming (Try for free)
    United States +310; Draw +230; Netherlands -104 (via Caesars Sportsbook)

    Netherlands vs. United States: Featured Match

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