United States qualifies for the knockout stage in World Cup

Image via SportsHub

Image via SportsHub

Drew Stahl, Co-Sports Editor

The United States Men’s National Team finished second in their group at the 2022 Qatar World Cup. That second place finish was enough to send the U.S into the Round of 16. This will be the first World Cup knockout stage appearance for the United States since 2014. The U.S did not qualify for the World Cup in 2018. 

The United States were drawn into group B along with England, Wales, and Iran. The top two finishers of the group will qualify for the knockout round. The knockout round is essentially a 16 team tournament that will determine the winner of the World Cup. In the group stage, each team will play each other once, giving each team only three opportunities to get the necessary points to qualify. A win is three points, a draw one, and a loss zero. 

After the group stage, England finished top of the group with seven points. The United States finished with five points, narrowly escaping Iran who finished third with three points. Wales finished bottom of the group with only one point. The final results came down to the last matchday.

Coming into the third matchday, the United States needed to defeat Iran to progress to the next round. They did exactly that, beating Iran 1-0 with a goal from their superstar, Christian Pulisic. England beat Wales 3-0, with two goals from Marcus Rashford, to top the group. In the next round, the United States will face the winners from group A, The Netherlands. Meanwhile England will face the runners up of group A, Senegal.

The next match for the United States will take place on Saturday morning at 10:00 am eastern time. It will be a tough match for the U.S as they will face a disciplined Netherlands side. Some names to keep an eye on for the Netherlands are defender Virgil van Dijk, and midfielder Frankie de Jong. Netherlands put on an impressive showing in the group stages winning two games and drawing another. 

The United States have only allowed one goal through the group stages, which was a penalty kick goal scored by the Welsh forward Gareth Bale in their first game. Aside from that one goal, the United States have not allowed an open play goal through three games. 

The biggest difficulties for the United States have been scoring goals. They have only scored two goals so far and in order to keep their hopes alive at the World Cup, they will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball.

The entire country will be watching on Saturday as the US hopes to stay in Qatar a few more days. It will be a tough test, but a test that the United States can withstand. The keys are to keep possession in the midfield, and capitalize on goal scoring opportunities. By doing so, we could see the United States continue their special journey in Qatar.