Note: results of games on Sunday 12/4 will not be reflected in this article
The biggest sporting event of the season continues, as the knockout round has begun in Qatar. Here’s the outlook for all the remaining 14 countries and a review of the two that have been eliminated.
It was a strange 3-1 victory for the Dutch on Saturday as they advanced past the USA to the round of eight. They were outshot and out-possessed, yet are now moving on to face Argentina. The Dutch enter this game as heavy underdogs, as they advanced out of a less challenging group and seemed to struggle in dominating the pace against the United States.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Heartbreak and frustration yet again from our men’s national soccer team. Many American soccer fans had low expectations going into Qatar, as the U.S. has been streaky at best in international soccer for years. It was a strange group stage for the U.S. as they drew frustratingly to Wales before securing placement in the knockout round with a hard-fought draw against England and a much-needed win against Iran.
After dominating the pace against the Netherlands and still managing to lose, American fans are calling for the firing of head coach Gregg Berhalter. However, fans should still be happy that the U.S. made it to the knockout stage at all after failing to even qualify for the Cup in 2018.
On Nov. 22, Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia in the group stage, putting the soccer world into a frenzy. Messi magic has since ensued, and Argentina are in the quarterfinals. Their loss looks to be a fluke, as Leo Messi and Julián Álvarez have gotten very hot at the right time. They’re headed into a matchup with the Netherlands that they should win.
It was a good World Cup for Australia, as they qualified for the knockout stage for the first time since 2006. They were unable to pull off the upset against Argentina, and will be headed home, but with their heads high.
Japan has mostly impressed throughout the group stage save for a loss to Costa Rica. After knocking off Germany and Spain, they face their toughest challenge in the round of 16 against Croatia.
Runners-up in 2018, Croatia managed to escape the group stage with a win and two draws. They’ve certainly looked shakier than they did last time out, but they currently have a 46% chance of beating Japan within the first 90 minutes.
No surprise, the kings of international soccer are dominant again. Despite slipping against Cameroon, Brazil are overwhelming favorites to beat South Korea.
Don’t look now, but South Korea could make a statement with a big win over Brazil. Despite the likelihood of their run ending soon, this would still be a good year for South Korea, who last qualified for the knockout stage in 2010.
The defending champions look solid. They took the day off against Tunisia in the group stage, but Mbappé and company are heavily favored against Poland and should make another deep run.
After going 1-1-1 in the group stage, Poland will need a miracle to beat France. They currently have a 9% chance of winning within 90 minutes.
Will this be the year? Will the World Cup trophy finally come home to England? Aside from the U.S. game, they looked strong in the group stage. They are heavy favorites to beat Senegal and advance. We’ll see how the following rounds play out in what could be Harry Kane’s last chance for international glory.
One of two African nations in the round of 16, Senegal played well through the group stage and should be very satisfied with their performance this year even if they lose to England.
Morocco were the unlikely winners of Group F, but are underdogs going into their matchup with Spain. It has been an unprecedented run for this West African nation.
Spain went 1-1-1 in the group stage, including an unexpected loss to Japan. They’ll need to pull it together if they want to make a deep run.
Ronaldo’s club situation may be in flux, but he and Portugal showed out during the group stage. They’re favorites to advance against the Swiss.
Switzerland are underdogs against Portugal, but should be proud of a strong group stage performance.