The Group stages of the FIFA World Cup are over and now it’s time for the exciting round of 16, where 16 teams will battle it out to secure eight quarterfinal spots. Netherlands will kick off this round as they take on the USA at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday and Argentina will lock horns with Australia later in the day. There are two more high-octane battles waiting on Sunday as well. France will lock horns with Poland in the first match of the day, whereas England will take on Senegal later on.
Netherlands vs USA
The Dutch delivered a strong performance in the group stage as they finished first in Group A having won two of their three matches, with one game ending in a draw. The USA also did well to finish second in Group B. Although they have quality players in offense, it’s their defense that stepped up in this group stage and now they will be banking on their attackers to come good as well. On paper, Netherlands are a much stronger side but USA have the grit to surprise them as well. But we still back the Dutch to win here by a 2-1 scoreline.
Argentina vs Australia
Argentina faced an early scare in the tournament as they lost their opening match to Saudi Arabia but they delivered a highly improved performance to win their next two matches and qualify for this round. That helped them in finishing at the top of Group C as well. Australia, on the other hand, surprised everyone by qualifying for this round as they went past teams like Denmark and Tunisia to do so. In fact, they finished the group stage with six points, the same as group toppers France, and now they will be eager to deliver a motivated performance against Argentina here. But Lionel Messi and his men are a far superior team, and we are backing them to win 3-1 here.
France vs Poland
France did almost everything right in the group stages until they lost to Tunisia in the final match. But they had already qualified for this round by then and it caused them no harm, as they still finished at the top of their group. Poland, on the other hand, finished second in Group C and only edged past Mexico, who had the same number of points, on account of a better goal difference. There is no doubt that they are a quality team, but France are far better at both ends of the pitch and Les Bleus can be expected to register a 2-0 victory here.
England vs Senegal
England enjoyed almost a near-perfect group stage as they finished right at the top of Group B, having gone unbeaten in their three matches. They will be looking to carry their rich vein of form forward to secure a quarterfinal berth for them now. Senegal, on the other hand, finished second in Group A as they won two of their three matches on their way to this round. They have shown that they are a good attacking side but the defense is probably not good enough to stop a rampaging England attack. That’s why the Three Lions are expected to win by a 3-1 scoreline here.