World Cup

As the World Cup’s round of 16 begins, Argentina and the Netherlands will face off in quarterfinals.

As the World Cup knockout rounds begin on Saturday, Australia faces Lionel Messi’s Argentina in a David vs. Goliath matchup, while the United States plans to surprise the Netherlands.

After an unpredictable group round, the tournament’s main event begins with 16 teams hoping to chart a course to the Doha final on December 18.

The second round begins on Saturday at the Khalifa Stadium with the USA taking on the Netherlands, with the Americans hoping to reach the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.

With a 1-0 victory over Iran to take second place in Group B behind England, coach Gregg Berhalter’s USA team secured their place in the round of 16.

The Netherlands have a stronger historical background than the USA, having advanced to three World Cup finals, but the Americans are full of confidence going into the knockout stages.

“It’s a great opportunity, but it’s not something that we’re going into it thinking it’s an honour,” Berhalter said.

“We deserve to be in the position we’re in.”

The Dutch team, which beat Senegal, Ecuador, and Qatar to win Group A, will be tested by the Americans despite not playing at their peak.

The energetic Americans pose a threat, and veteran Dutch coach Louis van Gaal considers Berhalter’s squad to be among the best in the competition.

They have an excellent team, I would say even one of the best teams,” said Van Gaal.

“It’ll be a tough match but it’s nothing we can’t overcome. We also have a good team.

“But I’m not going to downplay the USA. I think they’re an example of what a good team is.”

In the other semifinal match on Saturday, South American juggernauts Argentina take on a team from Australia that defied all odds by winning Group D, which also featured the defending champions France, Denmark, and Tunisia.

However, after witnessing his team suffer a shocking defeat to Saudi Arabia earlier in the tournament, Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni is not prepared to take anything for granted.

“Whether or not they are inferior to us remains to be seen. I don’t agree that they are. This is football – eleven against eleven,” Scaloni said.

“Forget who is theoretically favourites and let’s play football.”

“I just think that Argentina bring the best out of Australia. Our performances every time against Argentina have been very strong and very good,” Arnold said.

“Playing against that type of talent, and that name I think resonates right across the world – it’s a football nation and it is inspiring to play against them.”


On Friday, the group stage came to an exciting conclusion when South Korea advanced to the knockout stage by defeating Portugal in sudden death to set up a matchup with the formidable Brazil.

The Koreans knew they needed one more goal against Portugal with time running out at Education City Stadium in order to surpass group opponents Uruguay, who were playing Ghana.

Son Heung-min, a forward for Tottenham, provided Hwang Hee-chan with a key assist so that the goal that made the score 2-1 could be scored.

The Korean athletes then watched the final minutes of Uruguay’s game on their phones while they awaited confirmation of their place in the round of 16.

With a 2-0 advantage over the Africans, Uruguay only needed one more goal to advance but, despite applying intense pressure, came up painfully short and was eliminated on the basis of goals scored.

Son, a Korean forward for Tottenham, claimed to be in tears of joy.

“There were moments when I wasn’t able to do my best and I am thankful for my teammates that they were able to cover me in the moments I wasn’t able to fulfil my duties. I’m very proud of them.”

Luis Suarez, a veteran of Uruguay, broke down in tears after the South Americans were eliminated.

Switzerland won 3-2 in a contentious match against Serbia to advance and face Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

The winning goal was scored by Remo Freuler in the 48th minute on a half-volley.

After Serbia appealed for a penalty in the second half, tensions erupted, and about 15 minutes later, the stadium announcer demanded an end to “all discriminatory chants and gestures.”

“I can’t tell you the reason why and what happened exactly,” said Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic.

“Sometimes the tensions come and some maybe bad words can create some uncomfortable behaviour, but it’s nothing special. It’s normal, let’s say, for this kind of game.”

Despite playing without nine of their starting players and losing 1-0 to Cameroon, Vincent Aboubakar’s goal in stoppage time gave Brazil a memorable victory but could not save the African team from elimination.

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