Dutch team fighting the flu
The Americans face a Dutch squad that, like several other World Cup teams at this tournament, is battling the flu. The bug ran through the U.S. squad last week.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal gave his team the day off on Thursday instead of running a typical 11-on-11 match.
“I gave them a day of rest,” Van Gaal said Friday. “With this group, they communicate that to me. I listen to my players.”
He declined to elaborate on how many players are affected, but by abandoning the typical training schedule Van Gaal created speculation that at least six players are ill.
“We are not going to elaborate on that,” he said. “But if it goes around in the group, it is worrying.”
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How to watch Team USA vs. the Netherlands
The United States must-win match against the Dutch, which is being played at Qatar’s Khalifa International Stadium, starts at 9 a.m. EST.
The United States is trying to get to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002, but the team is winless in its last 11 World Cup games against European teams, a streak that includes five losses and six draws.
What’s in the ‘magic spray’ World Cup players use, and does it really work?
Viewers of the World Cup are likely familiar with the “magic spray” that sometimes gets whipped out after a player tumbles to the ground, writhing in pain from a mid-game injury.
The aerosolized substance garners renewed intrigue every so often, when team doctors douse players with it and then send them back into action, seemingly healed. So, how does the spray work, and just how magical is it?
Warm but not brutal evening for play in Qatar
It’ll be a summery feel in Qatar for the United States’ round-of-16 match against the Netherlands.
The forecast is for 80 degrees at 6 p.m. local time (10 a.m. EST) at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, when the Americans and Dutch kickoff. It’ll be a touch cooler, 77 degrees, by 8 p.m. locally when then final 90-minute whistle likely blows.
The open air stadiums in Qatar have been been fitted with cooling systems, to chagrin of environmentalists.
The World Cup is typically played in June and July when most of the world’s major soccer leagues are on between-season breaks. But when the tournament was awarded to Qatar, organizers agreed to move it to November and December to avoid the oppressive desert heat.
Christian Pulisic cleared to play against Netherlands after game injury
U.S. forward Christian Pulisic has been cleared to play in the team’s round-of-16 game against the Netherlands, the U.S. Men’s Soccer Team announced Friday.
Pulisic, 24, sustained a pelvic contusion relatively early in Tuesday’s match after he careened into Iran’s goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand, while scoring the game’s only goal.
The USMNT had described Pulisic’s status after the game as day-to-day.
U.S. looking for a rare World Cup quarterfinal appearance
An American upset over the Netherlands would bring coach Gregg Berhalter’s men to the quarterfinals and a stage rarely occupied in U.S. soccer history.
The U.S. men’s team made the semifinals of the inaugural World Cup in 1930, finishing third, behind runner-up Argentina and host and champion Uruguay.
The closest the Americans have come since that 1930 run was in 2002, when they made the quarterfinals of that tournament in South Korea and Japan.
Qatar World Cup lays bare the huge environmental cost of tournament
Air conditioning in huge open-air stadiums, hundreds of international flights, lots and lots of lights.
More than a million people have traveled to Qatar for one of the planet’s biggest sporting events. But as it hosts the soccer World Cup, controversy is also descending on the tiny Gulf kingdom.
Alongside concerns over human rights, anti-LGBTQ laws and the treatment of migrant workers — issues that have dogged the tournament for years — critics say Qatar 2022 will be one of the most environmentally damaging of modern times.
Ahead of the tournament, several ecologically minded professional players signed an open letter to FIFA early this month, urging soccer’s global organizing body to ditch its contested claim that the Qatar World Cup is carbon neutral and to review its plans for next year’s Women’s World Cup hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
Read the full story here.