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FIFA World Cup 2022 Preview: Netherlands vs. USA — December 3, 2022

Doha, Qatar; Iran midfielder Ahmad Nourollahi (21) knocks the ball away from United States of America midfielder Tyler Adams (4) during the first half of a group stage match during the 2022 World Cup at Al Thumama Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

The USA takes on the Netherlands in the first of eight Last 16 matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.

Both teams are undefeated in Qatar so far, with the Netherlands picking up wins against Senegal and Qatar and a draw with Ecuador, while the United States opened with draws against England and Wales before securing their place in the knockout stages with a win over Iran.

The Netherlands are the favorites here, but the United States will take heart from how well they played against England and know that they are capable of pulling off the upset. The prize for the winner is a quarter-final against Argentina, assuming Lionel Messi & Co. can get past Australia later on Saturday.

USA Key Player: Tyler Adams

Adams has more than justified the decision to name him captain heading into the tournament, producing some impressive performances in the middle of the field for the USMNT. He has earned PFF grades above 75.0 in passing (75.4), challenges (76.7), 50/50 duels (88.3) and aerial duels (76.9), showing off just how well-rounded he is. His 22 completed line-breaking passes are the most of any player in the United States squad, while his 12 tackles won are currently the most of any player in the tournament.  

Netherlands Key Player: Cody Gakpo

Gakpo has received plenty of attention during the first half of the European soccer season, and he has only increased the hype around his potential with an impressive group stage at the World Cup. His 85.2 shooting grade is currently the fifth-best in the tournament among players to attempt at least five shots, and he has scored goals with his head and both his left and right foot. 

Matchup to watch: How much pressure can both teams apply?

This matchup sees two of the top-12 teams in total pressures squaring off, with the United States ranking eighth in the tournament with 852 pressures through the three group-stage games, while the Netherlands ranks 12th with 795.

Captain Tyler Adams has been the leader for the United States here with 117 pressures, while Yunus Musah (99), Atonee Robinson (83), Timothy Weah (81) and Christian Pulisic (80) all have pressured the opponent at least 80 times.

For the Netherlands, no player has more pressures than Frenkie de Jong, with the Barcelona midfielder pressuring the opponent on 89 of his 133 attempts.

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