Underdogs overcome


USA teammates celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group B football match between Iran and the U.S. at the Al-Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Story by Jackson Haltom

The United States Men’s National Soccer Team is making its 11th appearance in the World Cup, its first time competing since 2014. 

The chances of them making it past the group stages were slim, with being in a group with England, Iran, and Wales. While beating the odds and tieing Wales, England, and beating Iran the national team, the USA made it out of the group stages for the first time since the 2014 World Cup. 

While the fans are still celebrating their gutsy win versus Iran, the path to the finals for the US is daunting, but not impossible. Their next matchup is set against the Netherlands in the Round of 16. 

Once again, they’re facing adversity and are ultimately the underdogs. The Dutch are ranked number eight in the world by FIFA and have been unbeaten since September of 2021, winning 18 matches in a row. The Netherlands had a shaky group stage performance but came out on top in the end, with their worst performance being a draw versus an upset Equador team. 

For the United States to come big and win this game, they need their key players in the best shape possible. 

Star player Christian Pulisic was injured after scoring in the Iran game and is questionable to play Saturday. Pulisic being back for the game against the Netherlands would leave the team in a perfect position to come out swinging on Saturday versus the Dutch. 

The most success from this US team has come from the wide positions, finding quick crosses in the box as well as cutbacks and driven shots, with every shot on goal coming from an outside attempt. 

Their defense is coming off of one of the best performances the Nation has ever witnessed, winning nearly every aerial threat and holding Iran to 2 shots on goal the entire game. Additionally, the United States Goalkeeper, Matt Turner, will need to continue his streak of great games to give them the chance to win. 

A victorious outcome will set the United States up very well to have a ticket to the World Cup finals for the first time ever.