Netherlands and the USA will get the World Cup 2022 knockout stage going when they meet in their Round of 16 clash at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Oranje were heavily favoured to win Group A before the group stages began.
They lived up to expectations and clinched the top spot with two wins and a draw.
The USA also had an unbeaten run in their group as they drew against both of their British opponents, England and Wales, before beating Iran in the final group stage match.
Netherlands kept intact their brilliant record of making it to the Round of 16 in all of their World Cup campaigns since 1934; a feat not even Brazil can match.
However, their playing style in this World Cup has drawn widespread criticism.
The Netherlands have managed only eight on-target shots in Qatar, but thanks to Cody Gakpo’s red hot scoring form, the Dutch have managed to convert five of those in goals.
Louis van Gaal has been the architect of the Netherlands’ renaissance following their disappointing Euro 2020 campaign.
The veteran tactician has overseen an unbeaten streak that exceeded to 18 matches when Netherlands beat Qatar in their final group match.
Van Gaal is on the brink of a personal milestone ahead of Saturday’s match. If the Netherlands win, Van Gaal will match Luiz Felipe Scolari’s record of staying unbeaten in 12 successive World Cup games.
The United States have played an exhilarating brand of football at times in this World Cup. But the results do not reflect that.
Gregg Berhalter’s side dropped points against Wales and England, despite being the best team in both matches for prolonged periods.
A win against Iran did bring them to the Promised Land of the knockout stages, but they need to be wary of their struggles in front of the opposition goal.
USA won only one of their last six matches in all competitions.
They also failed to get the better of European sides at the World Cup since 2002. The Star and Stripes must end that dismal run to make their first World Cup quarterfinal appearance in 20 years.
Louis van Gaal heaved a sigh of relief when Jeremie Frimpong overcame an injury scare to take part in training.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager will likely field the same line-up that brought the Dutch a 2-0 win over hosts Qatar on Tuesday.
Christian Pulisic collided with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand while scoring the winner in the do-or-die clash against Team Melli.
He was hospitalised with a groin injury, but he announced on social media that he will be fine to return on Saturday.
Josh Sargent picked up an ankle injury against Iran. Weston McKennie is another player who is doubtful for Saturday.
The Netherlands’ playing style did not win over critics, but they have been incredibly clinical.
Cody Gakpo might become the first player in the history of the Netherlands to score in four successive World Cup games and lead them to the quarterfinals.
The fitness issues of several key USMNT players also make the Dutch favourites to come out of this clash alive.
We say, the Netherlands 2-0 USA.
Date: 3 December
Kickoff: 8:30 PM IST
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium.