Netherlands 3-1 USA: World Cup 2022, last 16 – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian

5.28pm GMT

Match report

“If this is boring football then Louis van Gaal will be demanding more of it,” writes Andy Hunter. Hard to argue with that. Here’s his report from the scene.

Related: Netherlands into quarter-finals after Dumfries volley caps win against USA

And you’d have to say Dumfries was the man of the match.

So that’s it for me here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for following along here today and for the rest of the Cup.

And enjoy curling season.

5.25pm GMT

Alexander Cattermole is hopping mad: “Pulisic’s set pieces created more opportunities for the Dutch than America. The insistence on using him on them should be grounds for a congressional investigation. MMA are flat track bullies who can dominate concacaf minnows but shrink when up against their supposed equals.”

David Konopka: “Peter M has a strange memory with regards to the Bradley’s. Bob last managed the US in 2011, when Michael was…about 24 years old.”

Funny story: A US women’s player whose NWSL team nearly brought in her father as an assistant insisted that such a situation was just fine because it worked for the Bradleys. Some fans would disagree.

5.23pm GMT

Daniel Strauss: “Can we finally get rid of this jumped up MLS coach and get a real national team manager, please?”

Richard Byrne: “Philadelphia Union coach Jim Curtin in.”

I’ll let you two sort it out.

How about Jesse Marsch?

Updated at 5.23pm GMT

5.22pm GMT

Matt Turner says Berhalter said sometimes the game can be unfair. But he mentions that it’s a result of what happened in both boxes.

“We conceded a third goal late, and that kind of took the steam out.”

And it wasn’t their best defensive performance. “We were allowing balls into the box and not tracking runners. … It was a tough night overall defensively.”

Can you reflect on the positive moments, Fox’s Jenny Taft asks. Not really. Not right now. The locker room is disappointed. (Well, the people in the locker room are disappointed.)

And though it sounds negative, I think a lot of US fans will like that response. No reason they should be satisfied with this run. A lot of positives here, but it seems like these players aren’t going to be complacent. Good for them.

5.19pm GMT

A couple of readers take issue with Berhalter:

Richard in Dallas: “I’m feeling bad for the USA - but this was no time to have defensive let downs..... What next for coach 3G? I feel good for LVG, though. He’s a soccer weirdo, but, then, so aren’t we on this MBM thread?”

5.18pm GMT

Peter Oh: “I don’t know the answer to your Fanta Orange question but based on what I saw in the last 90 minutes, a glass of Orange Crush has just been served up.”

I should point out, that even though I’ve objected to some responses, that 90% of the email here has been wonderful, insightful and witty, as expected from readers of The Guardian.

5.14pm GMT

Tyler Adams takes the softball questions: “A game like that, it comes down to the margins. A team like that, you give them 3-4 chances, they’re going to put them away. … We’re moving in the right direction, but we need to keep pushing.”

“We still need to develop individually to be more mature players … a more experienced team got the better of us.”

Big mistake today, but the captain has shown remarkable class in this tournament.

5.12pm GMT

Another comment from Liisa Sletzinger: “Fox commentators just said that the Netherlands has a date with Argentina. Actually, Argentina need to win their next match first. Sigh.”

In this Cup, you can’t rule anything out!

5.12pm GMT

Liisa Sletzinger was not impressed with Reyna and anyone else trying to dribble through three defenders. In fairness, the Dutch defense did a nice job clogging the passing lanes like their impressive engineering feats that keep the North Sea at bay.

Dan Waters: “Fanta in USA is made with high fructose corn syrup. In Europe it’s plain old sugar.” Yes, and it’s a huge difference.

5.09pm GMT

Joshua L J Ashbee: “Have to agree the Guardian sports blog has turned into a pro-USA parody of their normally fair mbm coverage.”

That’s only because I don’t speak Dutch.

But I’m not sure how much more credit I can give. The Netherlands finished their chances. Virgil played as expected. Noppert has wildly exceeded expectations.

Is it possible that some readers are simply anti-USA?

5.07pm GMT

Gregg Berhalter hails the US effort. “Really proud. When you think about this group, how they’ve come together in the last three and a half years, you don’t often get a bond like that.”

I don’t think he’ll be asked about the three big defensive lapses and lack of incisive passes that accounted for the final score.

5.06pm GMT

Julian Menz on the last Dutch goal: “Again, it’s down to naivety at the very top level. That was rank.”

5.05pm GMT

Charles Holzhauer: “Hey, Why don’t you lay off this “soccer” obsession? I believe it was one of your own countrymen who observed that “a rose by any other name….” plus, isn’t you people who put mayonnaise on your “chips?” Good God….”

I do love fish and chips. And English candy is far superior to American candy. Maybe I should stop by Pure Pasty today …

But mayonnaise? Yeesh.

5.05pm GMT

Kari Tulinius on the US goal: “Haji Wright totally meant this. Either way, what a gloriously absurd goal.”

Absolutely. Beautiful backwards touch with the outside of the boot. Of course.

5.03pm GMT

Peter M takes a broad view: “I have thoroughly enjoyed their improvements (and undefeated record against England ;)), however, we have clear issues in our selection process. A lot of it, I believe, stems from marketability and for several years, we had a manager (Bob Bradley) who included his own son (Michael Bradley) in the selection for probably a few more years than he had been useful. The consequences of this tendency on our midfield cannot be understated. This year was definitely and improvement, but Having Gio Reyna ride pine, instead of play, is indefensible. The domestic league is improving - please - all nations, allow your washed up superstar to go so they can impart some in-game wisdom on our youth.”

Gareth Bale for the win.

And Yash Gupta responds: “Okay so credit department - USMNT had a very good World Cup. But they remind me of a team called Tottenham which I follow. They’re even wearing same kit. Shame for USMNT, this game is turning out like 2019 Champions League Final. That final was crap in quality but it felt so close at the same time. Italians can call Football whatever they want. Only moment of joy for them would’ve been Germany getting out in consecutive group stages but they themselves missed both entirely. Calcio!”

Fair enough.

5.02pm GMT

Mary Waltz: “First of all, the US is not being humiliating. The Dutch might win but they will not be laughing at the end of this match and talking about how easy they had it. And the soccer controversy is so tired, played out, you are in a line of 10 million people who have been so proud of them selves for pointing out it should be called football. If you have a problem with soccer blame the people who coined the term, the brits.”

Matthew Schofield: “Try trotting out the national team in, iirc, ‘85, on artificial turf in St Louis and going up against a T&T side made up of part timers, and then losing, rather convincingly. This isn’t in the top 100 embarrassing moments in the US soccer history.”

The US men went, off the top of my head, 11 years without winning a game in the 50s and 60s.

4.59pm GMT

Shots: USA 17-11. Shots on target: USA 8-6. Possession: USA 58-42. Total passes : USA 564-412.

You get the idea.

OK, let’s see what you wrote:

James Robinson: “I can’t allow Mr Gupta’s sentiments, and the extremely ungracious manner in which they were expressed, to pass unchallenged and I don’t believe they are widely shared. It’s good to see the USA at another finals and there’s certainly no shame in losing to an excellent Netherlands team (if that’s what happens).” (This was obviously earlier in the game.)

Richard McGahey on “soccer/football”: “Brits used to use “soccer” and “football” interchangeably, research shows they started emphasizing “football” exclusively when USA started taking the sport more seriously. Also see Matt Busby’s autobiography, “Soccer at the Top: My Life in Football” (real title).”

Matt Burtz adds: “I wonder if the same vitriol is expressed for Australia’s Socceroos, or is it merely saved for countries with populations over 330 million?”

Australia v Argentina later today.

Updated at 5.00pm GMT

4.55pm GMT

Full time: Netherlands 3-1 USA

The final score is no reflection of how much terrific work the US did in this game.

It is, however, a reflection of the superior professional edge the Dutch have.

The US made, by my count, four mistakes in this game. The Netherlands scored three goals. You can’t call that unfair . You can call it unfortunate.

I’m going to try to race through the mailbag before signing off.
Man of the match: Denzel Dumfries gives the photographers the shots they need Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Dutch delight: Netherlands through to the quarter finals. Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

Updated at 5.06pm GMT

4.53pm GMT

90 +5 min: The Dutch defense is still holding, clearing every cross. They’re no longer sending more than one player forward to counter. It’s all defense now.

And as I say that, it’s 3v3 the other way.

4.52pm GMT

90 +4 min: Cross to Morris, can’t control, ends up back to Musah for a shot from 18, blocked by Virgil!

Berhalter misplays the ball to Reyna. Yes, Berhalter. The coach tried to kick it back to him for a quick throw-in. That kind of day.

4.51pm GMT

90 +3 min: Musah beats his man and crosses from the right side again. It’s cleared again.

Subs, with the Dutch jogging off slowly: Gakpo and Ake out. Weghorst and de Ligt in.

4.50pm GMT

90 +2 min: Dutch subs warming up, but now it’s Pulisic on the run, cut back to Musah, dangerous cross to Morris headed clear. Zimmerman and Adams stop the Dutch counter.

4.49pm GMT

90 +2 min: Morris on for Robinson. Forward for defender. Going for broke. I’m saying 4-1 final now.
Daley Blind of the Netherlands celebrates after scoring Photograph: Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Updated at 4.52pm GMT

4.48pm GMT

90 min: Long attack for the Dutch, and the basic problem for the US is that the Netherlands can have a prolonged, dangerous attack with only three players while everyone else hangs back to surround Reyna and Pulisic.

We’ll play six more minutes. Surprised it’s not nine.

4.47pm GMT

89 min: US wins possession. Musah crosses, headed clear. Reyna again is surrounded as if bathing in Fanta Orange.

Why is Fanta Orange so much better in Europe than in the US?

4.46pm GMT

88 min: Reyna tries to find space. There is none. The Dutch go off to the races. The US recovers, Now, at last, the Dutch start possessing the ball.

4.45pm GMT

87 min: Tactical foul by de Jong on Aaronson, duly punished with a yellow card.

Jordan Morris is about to come in. That’s not going to intimidate anyone.

4.44pm GMT

86 min: The corner kick is nodded down and bounces slightly up, and Zimmerman tries the world’s clumsiest seated bicycle kick. Why not?

4.44pm GMT

86 min: We’re getting some time-wasting now, so stoppage time will last an eon. I actually think a fourth Dutch goal is more likely than a second US goal, but I’ve been wrong many, many times in this Cup.

Pulisic with a wonderful ball forward to Wright, and Virgil has to be absolutely perfect to play it out for a corner.

4.42pm GMT

85 min: Now the Dutch fans are dancing.

You could say this game has been unfortunate, that the US haven’t seen a just reward for their play in this game. But they’ve made mistakes, and the Dutch have punished them. Three times – all when the US was in the ascendancy.

4.40pm GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 3-1 USA (Dumfries 81)

Oh, what a lapse. And a deserved goal for the superb Dumfries, who took advantage of Robinson’s wandering toward the middle. Blind sees him, crosses over everyone in the middle of the box, and Dumfries takes it well with his left foot. No chance for Turner.

That’s three extraordinarily costly mistakes for the US. And three superb finishes.

Yes, I’m using “superb” a lot. I’m running out of words.
Netherlands' Denzel Dumfries celebrates scoring their third goal Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

Updated at 4.43pm GMT

4.38pm GMT

80 min: Corner kick for the US. They have not been dangerous on these, but the crowd roars. Can Pulisic get his third assist of the Cup? Nope – Noppert claims. The Dutch keeper has been superb, beaten only by a bizarre touch that looped over him.

4.37pm GMT

78 min: CHANCE! Noppert was uncapped before this Cup, and he has saved the Netherlands several times now, this time with a sliding tackle far out of his box to take the ball from Wright, who was somehow left alone!

This has become insane.

Margriet Krijgsman: “Why are you so pro USA? I am a big donor of Guardian BECAUSE they report if not neutrally at least realistically, and fair at all times. Do you secretly work for USA Today? I am sick of your evident preference for the US. I would be equally throwing up if you were so blatantly kow towing to the Dutch.”

No, I worked for USA Today from 1999 to 2010.

But to reiterate – the Dutch have finished clinically. The US have not. Fair play to them.

And Noppert will surely earn a BIG payday after this.

4.35pm GMT

77 min: Yedlin has replaced Dest. Might hurt the attack a bit, but ..

4.34pm GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 2-1 USA (Wright 76)

Who needs clinical finishes? The US will take a weird looping touch off a great Pulisic cross that Wright somehow scuffs into the air and over everyone.

Game on? Game on!
Goal: Haji Wright of the U.S. scores Photograph: Annegret Hilse/Reuters
Haji Wright of the U.S. scores their first goal. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Updated at 4.40pm GMT

4.33pm GMT

75 min: CHANCE on a rare blunder by the Netherlands! A backpass finds Haji Wright, who ends up one-on-one with Noppert. His touch goes wide, and his tight angle shot is cleared.

4.32pm GMT

74 min: Reyna tries an off-balance shot and hits his head in the process.

Colum Fordham: “The USA have been lively and shown sparks of good football (or soccer) – I did like Weah Junior’s volley – but Netherlands have been been more clinical. As an Englishman who idolised Johan Cruyff, I admit to a certain bias in favour of the Dutch but the USA have played pretty well in this tournament. A young enthusuastic team playing decent soccer but being outplayed when it comes to football.”

Looks like the experienced DeAndre Yedlin will soon appear. Maybe Robinson just can’t continue?

4.31pm GMT

72 min: DOUBLE SAVE from Turner , and while the flag went up shortly afterwards, who knows what VAR would’ve said. Turner parries a hard shot from Koopmeiners, then immediately scrambles to knock aside a headed follow-up from Memphis.

A few seconds later, he races out to collect a dangerous ball.

Hard to imagine anyone whose stock has improved more in this tournament than Turner, even if he hasn’t been the busiest of keepers.
Netherlands' Memphis Depay with a diving header towards goal that is saved Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Updated at 4.34pm GMT

4.29pm GMT

71 min: Corner kick for the Dutch, Virgil heads over.

I’ve been waiting to get to this one from Lennert Beurskens: “It seems like Van Gaal has (rightly) decided that we do not have the attacking nor midfield players to play the famed dominant Dutch Total Football against top teams. However, we do have some world class defenders, so the plan seems to be to play a sort of catenaccio counter attacking game. Hard to watch but so far extremely efficient. Best regards from the Netherlands.”

4.28pm GMT

70 min: The US now leads in final third entries 34-14. But the Dutch efforts just look so much better. Zimmerman has been superb. Sorry I doubted you.

Robinson, who has shaken off his injury, makes a vital tackle.

4.27pm GMT

68 min: Long stoppage there, for which the referee will surely compensate with 15 minutes after we play 90. I exaggerate. I hope.

Zimmerman safely plays it out to stop the onrushing Dutch.

Aaronson fouls Timber. Barely.

“Persistent infringement,” fyi, does not necessarily mean the same player committing all the fouls, and the next player who breathes on Pulisic should be sent to Dubai.

4.25pm GMT

65 min: SUBS, but Robinson is down, and this might hold things up. Haji Wright, the closest thing to a traditional No. 9 on this squad, is ready to go, as is Aaronson, an industrious Leeds United teammate of Adams.

Will Berhalter need to replace Robinson instead? Would Berhalter gamble with three at the back? No, surely not. Robinson looks like he’ll continue.

So it’s Wright and Aaronson in for a disconsolate Weah and McKennie, the latter of whom was injured before the Cup and hasn’t been able to go 90.

4.22pm GMT

63 min: Robinson stops Dumfries at one end, and the Dutch think it’s a penalty. It’s not. Both players are hurt, but we still go to the other end, where Pulisic sets up a chance for Weah that’s blocked. Back the other way briefly, but then it’s back to the US, where Pulisic probably should’ve fallen to draw a foul but instead keeps playing and oh my goodness would this game calm down so I can catch my breath because it’s still unlikely that the US will claw back two goals.

Updated at 4.23pm GMT

4.20pm GMT

61 min: CHANCE as the Dutch break out. Robinson recovers well. There’s a scramble, and Memphis ends up forcing Turner to palm it over the bar. I think it was going high.

On the corner, Turner fails to collect, but that’s because he was fouled.

I see so much email coming in. My apologies for not getting to it.

4.18pm GMT

60 min: Free kick is cleared easily, as all US set pieces are.

Then, oh my, a BRUTAL foul on Pulisic by the substitute Koopmeiners. That’s a yellow card, and it was absolutely cynical.

4.17pm GMT

58 min: Game has gone quiet.

Gupta responds: “Yeah yeah Soccer word has its origin. But it doesn’t include neither foot nor ball, head, shoulder, chest, buttocks, crotch.”

Is that a reference to the Pulisic injury?

Oh, and he’s just been fouled again. Kick to the shins by Virgil.

Anyway, the Italians call it “calcio.” Go pick on them.

4.16pm GMT

56 min: Weah has space in the middle, but the ball is headed clear.

There will be so many “what ifs” after this game.

4.13pm GMT

53 min: CHANCE with McKennie shooting over the bar, set up brilliantly by Reyna.

Also, for Yash Gupta: Going 0-3 in the 1998 World Cup, with a loss to Iran and tawdry off-field issues, is humiliating. Failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament is humiliating.

This? If you think this is humiliating, I sentence you to watch the Houston Texans. Or read my book. Whichever is more painful.
General view of the action as Netherlands clear a shot off the line Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

Updated at 4.20pm GMT

4.11pm GMT

52 min: Pulisic with a nice touch to create some space. His 18-yard shot is right at Noppert.

Credit Gakpo, incidentally, with that save off the line for the Dutch on the Ream shot.

4.10pm GMT

51 min: Wow. End to end. Imagine if the score was 1-1 or 2-1.

Anyway, back to Gupta: “Soccer” is an English word derived from “association football” back when one group of Englishmen wanted to tackle each other and another wanted to kick each other.

4.09pm GMT

50 min: CHANCE at the other end, and it’s a save by Matt Turner. Would’ve been an own goal for Zimmerman, but it was a vital intervention.

4.08pm GMT

49 min: CHANCE cleared off the line as the ball falls to Ream on a corner, and the least likely US player to score nearly does so but can’t get much oomph at close range in tight space.
Netherlands' Cody Gakpo clears a shot off the line from Tim Ream Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters
Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo clears a shot off the line from Tim Ream Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Updated at 4.12pm GMT

4.07pm GMT

48 min: Ball is stuck in midfield while Louis van Gaal gestures about something.

Zimmerman and Ream cope very well with a Dutch attack here:

I’m going to argue with Yash Gupta: “From what I’ve understood, okay not so much, you’re more likely to do MBM if USMNT is playing in a World Cup. If that’s the case then it was a fun ride which unfortunately will end today with a humiliating defeat for USA. Not that I’m complaining. Anyone who calls a sport which is played with every body part except ‘arms’ Soccer, and actual game which is played with throwing ball with hands Football deserves nothing more.”

Just wait for my curling end-by-end.

4.05pm GMT

47 min: It’s been noted that the last time the US came back to win from two goals down was in a 2015 friendly against … the Netherlands.

I think some of the US players were in middle school then.

4.04pm GMT

46 min: A long throw-in from McKennie, and Noppert has to punch clear of Zimmerman. The best set piece from the US so far in this Cup is … a throw-in. Go figure.

4.04pm GMT


He’s replacing Ferreira.

The Dutch have two subs: Teun Koopmeiners replaces Davy Klaassen. Steven Bergwijn replaces Marten de Roon.

The US had 63% of possession in the first half. Japan, which barely had the ball but won its group finale, laughs.

We’re back on.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner of the US Photograph: Rungroj Yongrit/EPA

Updated at 4.05pm GMT

4.03pm GMT

Is this what the Dutch wanted?

Fred Decker says what several correspondents are saying right now: “My impression, fwiw, is that the Dutch are choking the life and flow out of the game and hoping that the young, energetic American squad will make mistakes as they grow more frustrated. It’s not pretty, but van Gaal has been around long enough to know that getting the win is all that counts.”

4.02pm GMT

Andy Gordon: “Whether ‘a kick in the knees’ is equivalent to ‘a kick in the shins’, ‘a kick in the Pulisics’ seems appropriate and ‘a kick in the Netherlands’ should cover everything.”

I think Denzel Dumfries is the bees’ knees. I’ve never understood that expression.

4.01pm GMT

Tactics, technique

Peter Rehwaldt: “It seems as if a fair number of the US passes are going to where a receiving player IS, rather than where they are heading. Sometimes it means the pass misses completely (a cross that runs behind three attackers), and other times it means the receiver has to stop and wait for it (some of the midfield passes). Either way, passes like that stop any kind of momentum and movement.”

Peter Oh notes Dumfries, the man with two assists for the Dutch: “This might be the best Denzel performance I’ve seen on an American big screen since Fences.”

I’m partial to the scene in The Equalizer in which Denzel beats up all the yuppies.

Wow, the mail is flooding in …

3.59pm GMT

The two best players for the US in this World Cup have been Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, and Sergiño Dest has a claim to be the third best.

All three have had crucial mistakes today.

I don’t really blame Pulisic for failing to put away that chance. But his corner kick service was terrible, and he’s had a couple of wayward passes.

Adams simply lost Memphis on the first Dutch goal.

And Dest lost Blind.

And the US is … well, not lost, but this is a mountain to climb.

3.52pm GMT

In the past, the US would’ve come out timidly for a game like this.

What we’ve seen in this Cup is a team attacking like demons and pinning back their opponents. They’re not just doing it to some Concacaf also-ran or Iran. They’ve done it to England and now the Netherlands.

That’s undoubtedly a sign of progress.

If only there could be some combination of this possession panache and either a Tab Ramos in midfield or a Brian McBride up front.

Mailbag after refreshment …

3.49pm GMT

Halftime: Netherlands 2-0 USA

What a misleading scoreline that is. But the Dutch finished their two chances, neither of which Matt Turner could’ve stopped, and the US chances just weren’t quite good enough, both well saved by Noppert.

Coming up, my take on US progress …
US have a Dutch mountain to overcome. Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters

Updated at 3.54pm GMT

3.48pm GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 2-0 USA (Blind 45+1)

We only have one minute of stoppage time, and it’s too long for the US. Dumfries works on the right, barely has space to get in a cross, but Blind races onto it and slams it home. Dest, for all his great work at the other end, just lost him.
He shoots and scores: Daley Blind of Netherlands scores the team's second goal Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Netherlands' Daley Blind celebrates Photograph: Peter Cziborra/Reuters

Updated at 3.50pm GMT

3.47pm GMT

45 min: Breathtaking end-to-end action! Dest drives into the box on a solo run and just has it poked away. Gakpo races the other way and outruns Ream, but Robinson tracks back well.

3.46pm GMT

44 min: Fifa’s stats say the US has outcrossed the Netherlands 16-5 but only completed 2 to the Netherlands’ 1,

3.45pm GMT

43 min: CHANCE! Weah absolutely blasts it from 22 yards out and stings Noppert’s hands as the big Dutch keeper reacts well.

The replay shows how perfect his technique on that bouncing ball really was.

3.44pm GMT

42 min: Now I’m wondering if Pulisic is feeling the effects of his injury. Another good combination, and Ferreira contributes well this time, and it breaks down when Pulisic’s pass to the left wing is far off target.

Weah in particular is starting to look industrious. The son of one of the greatest players to never play in a World Cup is a good player, and ….

3.42pm GMT

40 min: So whom would you like to see come on for the US at halftime? Reyna for incisive passes? Haji Wright for a pure striker? Brenden Aaronson just because?

Pulisic gets felled by Timber. Referee sternly warns him that he can only do that 18 more times.

3.39pm GMT

38 min: Very nice combination work down the left. The US can’t get a shot out of it, but if they’re able to do that 40 more times in this game, it’ll surely work once.

Then it’s another bad touch from Ferreira.

3.38pm GMT

37 min: Surprising news from Matt Schofield: “So i was settling in to watch the game, here in my home in Berlin, when I realized they are not broadcasting it. There have actually been quite a few games this year that have not been shown, which is shocking compared to everything through 2018. Anyway, long way of saying thanks for the minute by minute. You are my only hope (guess the movie reference?).”

Jedi Robinson surely appreciates.

3.38pm GMT

35 min: Robinson finds Ferreira, who has a chance to pass it to McKennie or Pulisic but does neither.

Gio Reyna isn’t a striker, either, but would he help unlock this Dutch three- or four- or five-man defense?

Berhalter has not been making good adjustments at halftime. The US has outplayed all three opponents in the first half by a wide margin. The second halves … well …

3.36pm GMT

34 min: McKennie hustles to keep the ball in play on the Dutch end line.

Sergei Nirenburg: “Nice to see the US show enthusiasm and technique.
But so far it’s boys against men, methinks.”

I don’t have the stats in front of me to quantify it, but this a very young US team. Bodes well for 2026, perhaps.

Richard McGahey: “Dutch playing 5 man back line when we attack, dropping wingbacks back outside tight three central defenders, slows us way down and hard to penetrate”

Yeah, the difference between a 3-5-2 and a 5-3-2 is more one of attitude or a game situation than anything else.

3.34pm GMT

33 min: Now no one’s in the attacking third.

I like this comment from Walter Haugen: “Greetings - I live in France now but I am from the US and used to coach and referee youth soccer in the 1990s. I used to make a distinction with my players about the difference between a forward and a striker. A forward shoots on goal. A striker finishes. This is appropos of your comment that the US has the combination but cannot get the final pick in. Or get the final number. Whatever.”

The lack of a No. 9 has been an issue here, especially with Ricardo Pepi left off the roster and Jesus Ferreira not playing until today, where he doesn’t seem to be shaking off the rust. Josh Sargent, unavailable today due to injury, did OK in that role.

But what wouldn’t the US give for a Brian McBride right now?

3.32pm GMT

29 min: Corner hits a gaggle of heads, and it’s judged to have gone off a US head last.

Zimmerman cleanly wins the header on the next one, and the Dutch manage only a wild pass attempt to keep it there. Pressure off for now.

USA lead 15-5 in final third entries, the stats say.

Replay of the goal shows Adams is the one who didn’t catch Memphis, but should someone else have been there? Hard to say.

3.29pm GMT

28 min: Steady as she goes.

Ruth Purdue on tactics: “Looks like the Dutch are man marking in central areas when out of possession. Following their players a lot in there.”

Joe Pearson: “The midfield does not react fast enough when we lose possession.”

Perhaps so. Maybe the US is too reliant on Adams?

Zimmerman pokes a ball away for a corner.

3.28pm GMT

26 min: So often, a goal livens up a game. This one seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. The US is comfortably knocking the ball around in midfield but can’t find a way through.

Are the Dutch … bunkering?

Adam K has a tactical observation: “Fascinating and engaging game so far. One thing I’m liking (and one thing that the USA don’t seem to have caught on to yet) is that de Jong is dropping into the back line to form a back 4, kind of like he and van de Beek would do at Ajax. It feels like that’s really throwing the USA midfield and allowing de Jong to dictate from deep -- but the USA are looking bright and speedy up front, specifically down the wings, and that’s causing problems for a slightly aged Dutch back line. It’s tantalisingly poised! Enjoy the match and cheers for doing the MBM.”
Virgil van Dijk looks to the heavens. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Updated at 3.31pm GMT

3.25pm GMT

24 min: More combinations here from the US, but they keep forgetting the last number to pick the lock. Or something like that. Someone asked whether “a kick in the knees” is a US idiom, but I said that instead of “kick in the shins” because players wear shin guards. Often very small one. Why do they do that?

Our officials today are Brazilian. The man in the middle is Wilton Sampaio.

3.23pm GMT

21 min: Memphis rushes a shot from a bad angle.

Gregg Berhalter is chatting with the fourth official about an offside call that the commentary team believes was a mistake because a defender played it. As a referee myself, I .. was looking at my keyboard.

But I will say Pulisic was just fouled, even if our referee disagrees.

I’ll check in on referee discussions as I have time. Which I don’t.

3.22pm GMT

20 min: Richard McGahey quibbles with my take that we’re being cynical here, insisting that you can’t give the Dutch an inch or give Memphis an uncontested shot there. And yeah, he’s not wrong. I wouldn’t say the press as a whole has had no effect, though. In fact, I think the danger in pressing forward all the time is that players may sometimes forget to track everyone on the way back, and Tyler Adams can’t be everywhere.

As I type, US pressure forces Noppert to play too quickly for his tastes, and the US claims the ball in midfield.

3.19pm GMT

17 min: Robinson makes a run into the box, but there’s just no passing lane.

I think it might be a tad harsh on Pulisic to call his shot a “miss.” I recall people saying that after the great German keeper Oliver Kahn made an terrific save on Landon Donovan in 2002. Pulisic had little time to shoot, and Noppert made a terrific save.

3.18pm GMT

16 min: US still possessing. The Dutch players look like they’ve figured things out and might be able to get through on the counter.

Mary Waltz: “Pulisic should talk to Lukaku. You can’t miss when you get a chance. Pulisic missed, Memphis didn’t. Sad fact for my eagles. The US has never won a WC match when giving up the first goal.”

3.16pm GMT

14 min: Tyler Adams takes a forearm to the face from Dumfries and checks his teeth. Look, you can set up a goal, but leave Adams alone, ‘k?

3.15pm GMT

13 min: Pulisic again has a chance to cross, but the Dutch players outnumber the US players this time, and the ball goes back the other way.

Richard McGahey: “Some US player trailing Depay didn’t rush to catch up with him so much for the press and intensity.”

Man, we are cynical in this country these days.

3.13pm GMT

GOAL! Netherlands 1-0 USA (Depay 10)

With good teams, sometimes, you just need one chance. Good passes through midfield. The first touch from Dumfries on the right is played back to Memphis, to use his preferred name, at the top of the box, and he rips it into the net.

A thing of beauty for the neutral. A kick in the knees for the US.
Knife through butter: Netherlands’ Memphis Depay scores their first goal Photograph: Matthew Childs/Reuters
Memphis Depay celebrates Photograph: James Williamson/AMA/Getty Images

Updated at 3.16pm GMT

3.11pm GMT

9 min: Finally, the Dutch get into the attacking third, but the possession is brief.

Now de Jong is racing back and forth with the ball in his own box because Ferreira isn’t letting him play it out easily.

3.10pm GMT

8 min: Well, that’s better from Pulisic. He races down the left and puts in a dangerous cross for Weah that’s headed clear.

Then the magnificent Tyler Adams quickly wins the ball as the Netherlands try to get into the attacking third with purpose for the first time in the match.

3.09pm GMT

7 min: Robinson races up the left side and forces a tackle out for a corner. Such a pest, this Jedi.

Pulisic’s corner kick sails over the box like a plane flying over Arthur Ashe Stadium. Two big touches from Pulisic so far that haven’t been the best, to be honest.

3.07pm GMT

6 min: Still the US pressing. Weah gets the ball in the box but can’t turn and has to play it back out.

Put a pin in this. I have something profound to say at halftime. Well, hopefully profound. It’ll be a broad comment on US soccer history.

3.06pm GMT

4 min: Virgil van Dijk casually shields the ball out of play. Dest practically climbs around him in an effort to get it.

Didn’t keep it in play, but the message is clear here – NOTHING will be easily given to the Netherlands today.

3.04pm GMT

3 min: CHANCE! Dest’s cross is headed away, but the ball comes back to Pulisic in the middle of the box, and Noppert has to use all of his long legs to keep it out.
Christian Pulisic of the United States, left, takes a shot against goalkeeper Andries Noppert of the Netherlands Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Updated at 3.10pm GMT

3.03pm GMT

2 min: Noppert’s touch 90 seconds ago was the last substantial touch by a Dutch player. US knocking the ball around.

3.02pm GMT

1 min: Noppert seems a little casual playing the ball while US players buzz around him. The press is on.

3.01pm GMT

Email right now has two major themes: More talk of music to play after the game, depending on results, and those of us who remember when we were all called rude things for playing or watching soccer.

Brian McBride changed the image of soccer by bleeding. A lot. In 2006, after an elbow in the Italy game busted open his face. That made people realize this …

… we’ll pick this up later. Kickoff.

2.59pm GMT


The one-time great hope of the nation is still a great supporter …

Many scenes like this …

Christian Pulisic actually looked kind of relaxed while singing the anthem. They looked pumped up to play. Would you expect less?

2.55pm GMT


Before the Cup, I posited that the US men had a terrifying attack but a defense that terrified its own fans.

So … I was kinda wrong. The US has scored only twice, with both goals involving Pulisic. But the defense has conceded only once, a penalty kick after a rash tackle by Zimmerman.

Then I said Iran would probably get a draw with the US. But, I figured, if the US scored in the first half, they’d force Iran to come out of its bunker and many goals would be scored.

In other words, I’m the wrong person to ask.

The Fox commentators are all-in on the US. Landon Donovan says it goes to PKs (I’m sorry – are we allowed to say “PK” without being compared with Ted Lasso?), while Clint Dempsey sees a US win outright, and Alexi Lalas shouts “2-0” and practically stage-dives, Fishbone-style, into the pit of US fans behind the set.

2.51pm GMT

Back to music for our DJ friend …

Joe Pearson suggests Neil Diamond’s America and inquires about my substitute teaching gig this week. I missed a lot of soccer but very much enjoyed it, thanks.

Kari Tulinius says to go with Prince.

Fox, meanwhile, is playing Miley Cyrus’ Party in the USA.

Also in the mailbag, Jim Brockton is pretending he hasn’t heard of the college that UNC beat in last year’s Final Four but has won five national men’s basketball championships, the first in my senior year. (Yes, I’m old.)

2.48pm GMT

More mailbag …

I have corrected the text lineup below that mentioned Pulisic twice. Apologies to Tim Weah.

Fellow curler Alan MacNeill would like Fox to back up just a bit: “I realize soccer is a metaphor for war, and has even caused international conflict....but can we get fox to dial down the patriotic rhetoric down to a 6-7 vs the 13 we are at right now? It’s only the round of 16...I’m half expecting if we made the semis or finals a dance line of rifle wielding cheerleaders shooting random things.”

Proof that we’re still, at heart, a “NFL and the US Army” country.

2.45pm GMT

How big is the sport now in the US?

Dave Hanratty: “Greetings from Ireland – I’ve always enjoyed cheering on USA in World Cups, likely because of USA ‘94 being the first proper World Cup I experienced and Ireland’s exciting run in it. That, and I do get a kick out of ostentatious American football/soccer commentary and so on. I was wondering if you could shed some light on just how respected the beautiful game is or isn’t in the US in 2022? For a long time it seemed like it was dismissed as a ‘girl’s game’ or some other sexist nonsense, but there seems to be, year on year, a notable uptick in football being taken more seriously over there? Same time, it’s never ever going to eclipse baseball, basketball, or American football, right? Just looking to take the overall temperature, really. Best of luck today!”

I’m a substitute teacher in local schools because I’m a freelance journalist and therefore someone who needs side hustles (and because I enjoy it). I’ve been amazed this year to see how much excitement there is. I walked by a classroom and heard USA-Iran emanating from their big screen. Kids are walking around in Pulisic shirts.

At the very least, the hostility toward soccer is dying out. But I literally wrote the book on why the US has a low ceiling in this sport. No gratuitous plug here (Google the book if you like). But to sum up: We have a great fan base, and we always manage to get in our own way with things like lawsuits. Story on one of those coming up soon, maybe in a week or two.

But forget the pessimism for now. There has never been a better time to be a soccer fan here. We used to be underground. Now we rule.

2.41pm GMT

Douglas Gibson guesses wrong: “Greetings from a UNC alum! You went to NC State, I take it? Anyway, thanks to you and the rest at the Guardian team for great safe-for-work World Cup coverage. I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

No, I went to UNC’s biggest rival in UNC’s biggest sport other than women’s soccer. (And occasionally victorious over UNC in that sport, too. Apologies to my fellow National Soccer Hall of Fame veterans committee member Anson Dorrance.)

2.38pm GMT

Lineup talk …

First, a simple text version by request:


Goalkeeper: Matt Turner

Defenders: Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, Walker Zimmerman, Sergiño Dest

Midfield: Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah

Forward: Christian Pulisic, Jesus Ferreira, Tim Weah


Goalkeeper: Andries Hoppert

Defenders: Jurrien Timber, Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake

Midfield: Daley Blind, Frenkie de Jong, Marten de Roon, Denzel Dumfries, Davy Klassen

Forward: Memphis Dupay, Cody Gakpo

The graphic is a little odd anyway, says Nick White: “Regarding the US Lineup tweet...Do they always blow up player’s heads like that and I haven’t ever realized, or is that photoshop job of Dest uniquely terrible. His head is frightfully out of proportion with his body.”

Now a question from Rahul Vanamali: “Surely there’s something going on behind the scenes between Berhalter and Reyna - can’t imagine why a player of Reyna’s skill has seen such limited game time with no obvious injury concerns, unless I missed something...Does anyone have anything?”

Berhalter has been treading a line between brilliance and consternation. Bringing back Tim Ream was clearly a stroke of genius. The substitutions have been … odd. Surely the US would’ve been better off with Reyna holding the ball at the end of the Iran game instead of Haji Wright.

Updated at 2.52pm GMT

2.31pm GMT

I’m also a fan of the music YouTuber Todd in the Shadows, who contributes this:

Yeah, but Arby’s got rid of their potato cakes, so …

2.30pm GMT

David Walls disagrees with my assessment of the US national anthem: “It might not be quite up there with the Marseillaise (the obvious winner in the World Cup of Anthems) but I think the Star Spangled Banner is a contender to make the last eight at least (especially in the absence of Russia and Italy this time). It would even be in with a chance for the semi-finals if they could get Enrico Pallazzo to perform it.”

That may indeed be my favorite rendition of the anthem.

Colin Young needs musical advice: “Hi Beau, like many others I suspect, I’m finding it hard to call this one. So instead I’m taking requests. I was born stateside but have lived most of my life in the UK.. Even so, nothing brings out the Stars n Stripes in me more than a USMNT game. I’m dj’ing this evening in Brixton.. Should they prevail, what tune shall I play to celebrate? And what if they lose...? And no, it won’t be ‘Born In The USA’. Any ideas out there? :)”

You’ve come to the right place, Colin. I could talk music all day. It might clear the dance floor, but may I suggest a bit of Ray Charles either way?

2.22pm GMT

First question for me from the inbox is … who are you?

Well, not quite phrased like that. From Steve Wiles: “I’m not as up to date with the MBM as I used to be, so maybe you’ve been around a while. Don’t recognize the name though. Just wanted to say: ‘This should be fun. Let’s talk for a bit and then watch, shall we?’ I like your style!”

Why, thanks, though I’m sorry you weren’t with me when I was up until all hours live-blogging the US Open this summer. I have an eclectic resume of MBM or lap-by-lap or game-by-game or skateboarding run-by-skateboarding run commentary.

Fun story: When I was at USA Today in the 2000s, I did our online Olympic sports and soccer coverage, and I blatantly ripped off The Guardian’s MBM style. And now they let me do it here.

The other quick note: I am the co-coordinator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Extravaganza at Potomac Curling Club. I have had to hand over the ice to our other volunteers today.

Yes, I’m missing curling to do this. (In the Canadian games, I did work in a lot of curling references.) This is a Very Big Deal.

And please email my editors to get them to let me do end-by-end curling commentary sometime.
John Shuster. Gold medalist. Just in case the US needs any more inspiration. Photograph: Rebecca S Gratz/AP

2.12pm GMT

I wasn’t kidding about Biden …

In a more traditional setting, the Fox studio crew this morning includes their stalwart host Rob Stone, the “nice guy in real life but provocateur on TV” Alexi Lalas, the drawling Clint Dempsey, and an unusually animated Landon Donovan.

Yes, unusually animated Landon Donovan, the guy who generally radiates California cool unless he has just scored an immense goal.

And now, Weston McKennie is in a movie trailer. That’s a jarring transition.

2.07pm GMT

One hour to go …

Samuel L. Jackson just did the intro on Fox. I’ve got chills, even though I would’ve loved for him to say, “WHAT DOES WESTON MCKENNIE LOOK LIKE?!” Or Tarantino’s tweaking of a verse from Ezekiel.

And … whoa … Joe Biden?

This is starting to seem like a big deal.

Send in your emails while ye may, and I’ll respond to as many as my typing speed and attention span will allow.

2.03pm GMT

Netherlands lineup

The imposing Noppert is in goal, with van Dijk in the middle of the back line between Manchester City’s Nathan Ake and young Ajax back Jurrien Timber.

Daley Blind, who had a long spell with Manchester United but whose surname is synonymous with Ajax, is on the left, Denzel Dumfries, who moved last year from PSV to Inter, is on the right.

Martin de Roon (Atalanta – the Italian club, not a misspelling of Atlanta United) and Davy Klassen (Ajax) will do their best to help de Jong control the midfield against the USA’s outstanding MMA trio. (To be clear – “MMA” refers to their initials, not their style of play.)

Gakpo and Memphis Dupay, a former Manchester United afterthought who scorched the nets for Lyon and has moved to Barcelona, play up front.

Here’s a nifty tactical look.

1.55pm GMT

US lineup

And there’s big news: Jesus Ferreira, the young goal-poacher who plays for FC Dallas (at the moment – he’s destined to join Weston McKennie, Kellyn Acosta, Shaq Moore and other players in the USMNT talent pool as graduates of The Best Academy in the States who have gone to good clubs overseas), has been controversially omitted so far. Not today. He’s starting in place of Josh Sargent, who was banged up against Iran.

Walker Zimmerman returns to the back line despite Cameron Carter-Vickers doing quite well in that space against Iran.

The rest is unchanged. Tim Ream, the Fulham veteran who had been out of the picture for quite a while but has served honorably alongside Zimmerman or CCV at center back, is still there, as is the MMA midfield of Adams, McKennie and Yunus Musah. The marauding outside backs of Antonee Robinson and Dest keep their spots as expected. Tim Weah, scorer of the goal against Wales and the man who had a goal called back against Iran in a razor-thin offside decision, remains on the front line.

And yes, Christian Pulisic starts.

Updated at 2.39pm GMT

1.46pm GMT

The many ties between these footballing nations …

As mentioned, Dest grew up in the Netherlands and was part of the Ajax youth machine.

Also growing up in the Netherlands: Earnie Stewart, the US Soccer sporting director who scored some of the most important goals in US history, including the winner against Colombia in 1994.

Also spending part of his career in the Netherlands: Gregg Berhalter, the US Soccer coach who went to some little state college* before moving to the Netherlands.

All this, plus an injury update on Christian Pulisic, in our preview by our US guy in Doha, Bryan Armen Graham:

Related: Pulisic clear to play for USA against Netherlands as Berhalter faces familiar foes

(* – the University of North Carolina is a fine institution. I attended their greatest rival.)

1.39pm GMT

In the Netherlands’ favor …

Well, they’re the Netherlands, right?

But are they a classic Dutch team? As “the guy who knows soccer” in many a social setting, I’m often asked to give ad hoc scouting reports of US opponents. “Oh, the Netherlands are great,” I said. “They have great players like …”

Um …

OK, OK – Virgil van Dijk, yes. He’s the bedrock of many a recent Liverpool success.

Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is great, even if Barcelona isn’t really Barcelona these days. (Sergiño Dest, incidentally, is a Barcelona player on loan to AC Milan, and he grew up in the Netherlands at Ajax, which rivals Barcelona in the race to be The Most Lauded Youth Academy on Earth.)

Their goalkeeper, Andries Noppert, is … tall.
Barely even had to jump. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters

And Cody Gakpo is still relatively unknown because PSV Eindhoven isn’t a glamour team these days, but that’s going to change when a big club or three. comes calling after this Cup.

With that, I’ve ripped off most of Tom Dart’s scouting report, but please do read the rest:

Related: The Netherlands: USA’s World Cup opponents – and how to beat them

Oh – and they’re not dull, insists Louis van Gaal.

Related: Louis van Gaal battles against boring tag as Netherlands plot route to final

Updated at 1.40pm GMT

1.29pm GMT

In the USA’s favor …

Eric Wynalda, whose long history with the US team includes a goal in the 1994 World Cup, says this US team has a great goalkeeper in Matt Turner, a much-scrutinized player delivering the goods in Christian Pulisic, a solid defense, and a captain who inspires on and off the field in Tyler Adams.

Related: USA have built a brotherhood capable of beating Netherlands at the World Cup

And please do read more about Tyler Adams. His midfield tenacity is crucial, giving the US outside backs the freedom to attack, something that paid off against Iran when Sergiño Dest put in the cross for Pulisic. And his composure in a press conference when asked a delicate question on race relations should be the envy of any world leader.

Related: ‘When he talks, people listen’: Tyler Adams is a formidable USA captain

Updated at 1.40pm GMT

1.08pm GMT


Welcome to The Biggest US Men’s Game Since the Last One …

It’s typical of a World Cup, of course, for each game to be “bigger” than the last, and we knew that about the US when we saw the draw.

Wales? OK, fine, typical group-stage game.

England? Now we’re talking. The Land Where the Game Began has a losing record against the US in the World Cup. (And still does.)

Iran? Uh oh. Flashbacks to 1998 and The Biggest Humiliation the US Ever Had in a World Cup. And a game that would surely determine whether they would advance.

So this game, against … (checks notes) … the Netherlands is “bigger” in the sense that it’s a round of 16 game.

But it feels different, doesn’t it? The concern that the US would embarrass itself has disappeared. Now, they’re playing with house money. Is that the right term? I don’t know gambling.

So it’s a different type of nerves. Being the underdog is fun.

And this is winnable, isn’t it? The oddsmakers generally give the Netherlands a 50% chance of winning outright, and then “draw” and “US win” split the other 50%. This being a knockout-stage game, “draw” means “penalties,” and which team will be feeling the pressure then?

This should be fun. Let’s talk for a bit and then watch, shall we?

1.00pm GMT

Beau will be here shortly, but in the meantime here’s how the two teams’ campaigns have gone so far.

How USA got here

  • In the opener, the US came storming out the gates and looked like they would carve up Wales for a convincing victory after Tim Weah’s goal. But the Americans faded badly in the second period and the game ended in a 1-1 draw .

  • USA then faced England, and maintained their unbeaten record against the Three Lions at the World Cup. The Americans were the better team but could not convert their chances in a 0-0 draw .

  • The US needed to beat Iran in their final group game, and did so thanks to Christian Pulisic’s effort, in which he definitely did not injure his unmentionables . The 1-0 victory sent the Americans through as Group B runners-up

How Netherlands got here

  • The Dutch left it late in their opening game, with their first goal coming in the 84th minute of their 2-0 victory . They also relied on a good performance from their keeper, Andries Noppert.

  • Cody Gakpo scored an early goal but the Dutch were put under pressure for large parts of the game in their 1-1 draw with Ecuador .

  • Gakpo was dangerous again as Netherlands coasted to a 2-0 win over the already eliminated hosts in their victory against Qatar. The win meant they progressed as group winners, even as manager Louis van Gaal bristled at suggestions watching his team is like “grinding teeth”.

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