For United States, World Cup goals are clear-cut

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(Photo Copyright Jeff Kassouf for NBC Sports)

HARRISON, N.J. – There were two very clear messages put forth on Saturday, one before the United States women’s national team’s lackluster, 0-0 draw against Korea Republic at Red Bull Arena, and one after the match.

United States supporters raised a banner from rooftop to field level behind the south goal of the stadium prior to the match that read, “BRING IT HOME,” with a drawing of the Women’s World Cup trophy emblazoned over the red stripes of an American flag. The United States’ goals in Canada in June – and they hope July – are as black and white as their new home jerseys: Win or fail. The Americans haven’t won the World Cup in 16 years.

But the match that ensued hardly looked like a world-beating United States team up against an inferior opponent. Korea Republic found space around the United States’ midfield and the Americans created only a few good chances on net.

“To be honest, it was a boring game,” U.S. forward Abby Wambach succinctly summarized. That was message No. 2.

Direct play dominated the Americans’ tactics throughout the match, leaving their midfield both passed over by their own teammates and Korea Republic. This was a match a match the United States was expected to dominate. Two years ago the U.S. ran circles around Korea Republic, beating them 5-0 in the same stadium on a night that Wambach scored four times to break Mia Hamm’s all-time scoring mark. To fail to score against Korea Republic – and to lose the midfield battle in stretches – is concerning for a U.S. team facing the Group of Death against Australia, Sweden and Nigeria.

[KASSOUF: Morgan’s absence felt; midfield lacks rhythm in Korea Republic draw]

U.S. coach Jill Ellis said she is happy that nobody was injured in the match and she looks forward to getting to Canada and away from the media “circus” the United States women have been juggling. She cited possibly tired legs and a mentally draining week, which were more explanations than they were excuses. Ellis and players

source: Getty Images
Carli Lloyd (Getty Images)

But the 48-year-old coach also conceded that Korea Republic’s midfield did well, specifically in the first half.

“The space behind our midfield was too big,” Ellis said. “It was more about having [our midfielders] not be so square. We needed to balance each other out, to kill that space. They had that centrally and they were finding the pockets behind.”

Saturday’s match against Korea Republic was really never about the opponent or the game, however. Ellis said as much in Friday’s pre-match press conference. Saturday’s match, just like the other two in the send-off series against inferior opponents Ireland (3-0) and Mexico (5-1) was always about the U.S. and its final preparations. The Americans are already in World Cup mode, midfielder Carli Lloyd said earlier this week.

U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn noted that the team barely beat Mexico in the 2011 sendoff match and lost to Norway in a closed-door match. The savvy central defender isn’t panicking over a scoreless draw.

“This has happened before, so we’re not too stressed about it,” Sauerbrunn said. “We’ve played a bunch of great games this year already. We did some great things out here; as a defender I’m just proud that we got a clean sheet.”

The tune blaring through Red Bull Arena as the team entered the pitch was serendipitous. Decked out in their new black, white and bright green warm-up gear, the moment was still fittingly American, even if the jersey colors was not.

Pop star Katy Perry’s “Firework” song rang through the rafters of the sold-out 25,000-plus seat stadium, and as the United States 23-player roster began its semi-synchronized stretching, Perry’s “Just own the night like the 4th of July” verse ushered in the afternoon.

Independence Day is of particular importance to this U.S. women this year, who will go into the day either be heartbroken or on the verge of their country’s first World Cup title in 16 years. The World Cup final is July 5.

That is the game that matters. Not a scoreless draw against Korea Republic or a 2-0 loss to a France or an ugly but efficient win over England in February. What matters is getting to the final and winning it this time, unlike four years ago. The catch is that the U.S. needs to be enough in form to get through the six matches that would come before that holy day in Vancouver.

“There’s a sense that when nerves rise, when you get on the biggest stage and nerves rise, people play a little bit different,” Wambach said. “They don’t take as many risks because they don’t want to be the one that messes up. So I think if we all can own the night, own the games that we play in and own the responsibilities with roles that we are given by our coaches – not worrying about making mistakes, not worrying about failing – if we can fly at other teams; that’s a team, with the players that we have, that’s unbeatable.

“Now if we play a little bit conservative, if we play to not fail, then that’s a team that I don’t know if [it] gets out of our group.”

It’s black and white. Just like the ultimate objective in Canada.

Netherlands vs USA: How to watch, live stream link, team news

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This USA looks for a legacy-cementing performance when it meets the Netherlands in the 2022 World Cup Round of 16 on Saturday in Al Rayyan.

The Yanks await fitness updates of Christian Pulisic and Josh Sargent but are largely healthy, though the USA has been leaning on largely the same starters deep into all three matches.

STREAM LIVE NETHERLANDS vs USA

Louis van Gaal’s Netherlands opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Senegal, then drew Ecuador 1-1 before blanking Qatar 2-0.

However, the Dutch have an illness bug sweeping through their team and key playmaker Frenkie de Jong is among those not feeling great.

USA drew Wales 1-1 Wales before a more impressive 0-0 with England and a pivotal 1-0 win over Iran that saw Christian Pulisic injured while scoring a huge goal.

USA fullback Sergino Dest chose the USMNT over the Netherlands and will certainly be in focus Saturday on the right side (presuming he starts his fourth-straight match).

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Here is everything you need for Netherlands vs USA.


How to watch Netherlands vs USA live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday Dec. 3
Stadium: Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Netherlands are the fourth-best team in ELO Ratings and eighth in FIFA’s oft-debated rankings, while the Yanks are ranked 20th by ELO and 16th by FIFA.

So the big storyline is whether the favorites’ role affects the Dutch at all, having had that label against Ecuador, Senegal, and Qatar, and whether the Yanks can effectively channel their underdog energy again as they did against England.

The huge question, of course, is whether Christian Pulisic is 100%, 75%, or less following the pelvic contusion suffered against Iran. While Tim Weah’s been very good and fullbacks Sergino Dest and Antonee Robinson splendid, Pulisic is no doubt the focus of defenders and the U.S. attack. It’s also worth watching whether Weston McKennie finally has a game-changing performance at this tournament, as the Juventus man has been getting back to full fitness all World Cup.

The Dutch have been thrilled by the performances of 23-year-old Cody Gakpo, who has scored in every game. The back line of Virgil vsn Dijk, Jurrien Timber, and Nathan Ake has been good, allowing just one goal, while Matthijs de Ligt started the first game in place of Timber and Stefan de Vrij looms on the bench. With Frenkie de Jong in the center of the park, this Dutch team is very strong even if it isn’t vintage Holland.


Netherlands vs USA all-time

The USMNT scored a memorable win over the Dutch in 2015 under Jurgen Klinsmann, trailing 1-0 and 3-1 before winning 4-3 with goals from Danny Williams and Bobby Wood in the 89th and 90th minutes to get the win. Gyasi Zardes and John Brooks also scored in the game.

The Dutch had won all four meetings before that and all five games were friendlies occurring between 1998 and 2015.


Netherlands vs USA, World Cup history

The Dutch have never faced the USA at a World Cup, and the home of Johan Cruyff certainly has a more illustrious tournament history.

The Netherlands, like the USMNT, missed the 2018 tournament. That absence came after finishing in third place in 2014 and losing the 2010 final to Spain. They’ve lost three finals in total, two in the mid 1970s, and haven’t lost a World Cup game outside of penalties since that 1-0 loss to Spain in 2010.

The USMNT’s best tournament finish concluded with the controversial loss to Germany in the 2002 quarterfinals, but the Yanks have now reached the knockout rounds the last three times they participated in the World Cup. They’ve only won a knockout round match in 2002.


Netherlands quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong, Cody Gakpo

USA quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 16
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Coach: Gregg Berhalter
Key players: Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie

South Korea vs Portugal, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream link, videos

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South Korea have a must-win Group H finale against Portugal, who have already made it through to the last 16 of the World Cup.

STREAM LIVE SOUTH KOREA v PORTUGAL

Heung-min Son has struggled and South Korea have just one point on the board so far from their games against Uruguay and Ghana. Last time out they lost 3-2 to Ghana in excrutiating fashion after fighting back from 2-0 down to make it 2-2. Now more than ever, Son’s country needs him to deliver as he has failed to score or assist in the opening two games and looks extremely frustrated. South Korea must win to have a chance of reaching the last 16 ahead of Uruguay and Ghana.

[ MORE: Group H standings, schedule, rankings ]

The opposite emotions are true for Portugal who beat Ghana 3-2 and then Uruguay 2-0 to breeze into the last 16 and they only need a point to secure top spot in Group H. Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva have been pulling the strings and this Portugal side is stacked in attack with Rafael Leao and Joao Felix rotated in and out of the team to support Cristiano Ronaldo.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for South Korea vs Portugal. 


How to watch South Korea vs Portugal live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
Stadium: Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Obviously the stage is set for Heung-min Son. He is a hero in his homeland and he’s worked so hard to be fit for this tournament after the nasty facial injury but looks out of sorts on the left. Perhaps he can moved inside or slightly deeper to get on the ball more? Cho Gue-sung scored two beauties against Ghana and if South Korea can put more quality deliveries into the box, they will cause problems. They simply have to go all-out for the win and that approach saw them deliver their best play of the tournament in the second half against Ghana. However, South Korea’s Portuguese coach Paulo Bento was sent off at the end of that disappointing defeat to Ghana as he was unhappy with a late corner not being allowed as the final whistle was blown. He will miss this game through suspension. 

For Portugal it’s about resting key players and warming up for their last 16 clash. Winning the group is essential as that means they would face one of Serbia, Switzerland or Cameroon in the last 16 rather than Brazil. It is very unlikely Portugal won’t finish top, but it could happen. Basically, Ghana would have to win big to overturn a three-goal difference by beating Uruguay and Portugal would also have to lose against South Korea. It could happen but Fernando Santos can rotate his team and still have so much quality on the pitch as Goncalo Ramos, Diogo Dalot, Matheus Nunes and Rafael Leao could all start.


South Korea quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 28
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Paulo Bento
Key players: Heung-min Son, Young-gwon Kim, In-beom Hwang, Woo-yeong Jeong

Portugal quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 9
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs
Coach: Fernando Santos
Key players: Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Cancelo


Ghana vs Uruguay, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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This is going to be an epic Group H finale as there is so much history between Ghana and Uruguay and both teams still have a chance of reaching the last 16.

STREAM LIVE GHANA V URUGUAY

When you say Luis Suarez, Ghana and World Cup together, most people think of his incredible handball to deny the Black Stars victory in the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup. We all know what happened next as Ghana’s Asamoah Gyan missed the spot kick after Suarez had been sent off, then Uruguay won on penalty kicks to deny Ghana an historic semifinal berth.

The whole of Ghana has never forgot that and the Black Stars get their chance for revenge in this clash.

[ MORE: Group H standings, schedule, rankings ]

Focusing on this game, Ghana provided superb entertainment in their 3-2 win against South Korea and know a point against Uruguay will be enough to reach the last 16 if South Korea fail to beat Portugal in the other final Group H game. Thomas Partey has been superb in midfield, Mohammed Kudus scored twice up top in their big win and the additions of Tariq Lamptey and Mohammed Salisu just before this tournament has made a big difference.

As for Uruguay, they’ve huffed and puffed in their opening two games but have failed to score as Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have all looked off the pace. Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde have been great in midfield but is this one tournament too far for Uruguay’s incredible, but ageing, core? They need to win to have a chance of reaching the last 16.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Ghana vs Uruguay. 


How to watch Ghana vs Uruguay live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Friday, December 2
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Ghana will likely start the same team which started against South Korea as they looked dangerous in attack but they will have to improve defensively and keep the ball a bit better. The Ayew brothers (Jordan and Andre) provide so much experience, while Inaki Williams and Kudus knit everything together well in the final third.

Uruguay have to go for it, so does that mean starting Suarez, Cavani and Nunez up top together? If they do that they could cause Ghana, who have looked shaky at the back, plenty of problems. They may go back to a back four and the trio of Bentancur, Vecino and Valverde to hold down midfield.


Ghana quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 61
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 4
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CAF via playoffs
Coach: Otto Addo
Key players: Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew, Thomas Partey, Jeff Schlupp

Uruguay quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 14
World Cup titles: 2 (1930, 1950)
World Cup appearances: 14
How they qualified: Qualified from CONMEBOL
Coach: Diego Alonso
Key players: Luis Suarez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, Rodrigo Bentancur


World Cup 2022 schedule – how to watch, groups, calendar, match schedule, brackets, dates

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The World Cup 2022 schedule is locked in and this tournament in Qatar has been sensational as action throughout November and December will capture the imagination of the world.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

Saudi Arabia, Japan and Morocco have already pulled off huge upset wins over Argentina, Germany and Belgium respectively as the tournament has delivered plenty of shocks with Germany, Denmark and Belgium all crashing out in the group stage.

From the USMNT and England getting out of their group to Lionel Messi dragging Argentina through and Mexico just missing out on getting out of the group stages, Australia making it to the last 16 amid upsets galore, there are plenty of intriguing games in the group stage.

[ MORE: World Cup rosters for all 32 teams ]

Then we have the small matter of the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, and final to look forward to. Bring. It. On.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Below is the schedule in full, details on how to watch the games and everything else you need..

[ MORE: World Cup odds ]


World Cup 2022 schedule, start time, dates, how to watch live

  • When: November 20, 2022 to December 18, 2022
  • Group stage game kick-off times: 5am, 8am, 10am, 11am, 2pm (all ET)
  • Location: Qatar
  • TV channels en Español: Telemundo, Universo, Peacock
  • Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)

Follow along with ProSoccerTalk for the latest news, scores, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 World Cup, and be sure to subscribe to NBC Sports on YouTube!


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Group A schedule (all kick off times ET)

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Group B schedule

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group C schedule

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Poland 0-2 Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Saudi Arabia 1-2 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail

Group D schedule

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark– Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Group E schedule

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 2-1 Spain– Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Costa Rica 2-4 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Group F schedule

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 5am
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Croatia 0-0 Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights Canada 1-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor

Group G schedule

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 11am
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil (preview) – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland (preview) – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Group H schedule

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal (preview) – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay (preview) – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am


Round of 16 schedule

Match 49 – Saturday, December 3: Netherlands vs USA (preview) – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 50 – Saturday, December 3:  Argentina vs Australia – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm

Match 52 – Sunday, December 4: France vs Poland – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 51 – Sunday, December 4: England vs Senegal – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm

Match 53 – Monday, December 5: Japan vs Croatia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am

Match 54 – Monday, December 5: Morocco vs Spain – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm

Match 55 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group F vs Runners up Group E – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 56 – Tuesday, December 6: Winners Group H vs Runners up Group G – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Quarterfinal schedule

Match 58 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 53 vs Winners Match 54 – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am

Match 57 – Friday, December 9: Winners Match 49 vs Winners Match 50 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am

Match 60 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 55 vs Winners Match 56 – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha – 10am

Match 59 – Saturday, December 10: Winners Match 51 vs Winners Match 52 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Semifinal schedule

Match 61 – Tuesday, December 13: Winners Match 57 vs Winners Match 58 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm

Match 62 – Wednesday, December 14: Winners Match 59 vs Winners Match 60 – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Third-place play-off

Match 63 – Saturday, December 17: Losers Match 61 vs Losers Match 62 – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm


Final

Match 64 – Sunday, December 18: Winners Match 61 vs Winners Match 62 – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 10am