89 min: US wins possession. Musah crosses, headed clear. Reyna again is surrounded as if bathing in Fanta Orange.
Why is Fanta Orange so much better in Europe than in the US?
88 min: Reyna tries to find space. There is none. The Dutch go off to the races. The US recovers, Now, at last, the Dutch start possessing the ball.
87 min: Tactical foul by de Jong on Aaronson, duly punished with a yellow card.
Jordan Morris is about to come in. That’s not going to intimidate anyone.
86 min: The corner kick is nodded down and bounces slightly up, and Zimmerman tries the world’s clumsiest seated bicycle kick. Why not?
86 min: We’re getting some time-wasting now, so stoppage time will last an eon. I actually think a fourth Dutch goal is more likely than a second US goal, but I’ve been wrong many, many times in this Cup.
Pulisic with a wonderful ball forward to Wright, and Virgil has to be absolutely perfect to play it out for a corner.
85 min: Now the Dutch fans are dancing.
You could say this game has been unfortunate, that the US haven’t seen a just reward for their play in this game. But they’ve made mistakes, and the Dutch have punished them. Three times – all when the US was in the ascendancy.
Oh, what a lapse. And a deserved goal for the superb Dumfries, who took advantage of Robinson’s wandering toward the middle. Blind sees him, crosses over everyone in the middle of the box, and Dumfries takes it well with his left foot. No chance for Turner.
That’s three extraordinarily costly mistakes for the US. And three superb finishes.
Yes, I’m using “superb” a lot. I’m running out of words.
80 min: Corner kick for the US. They have not been dangerous on these, but the crowd roars. Can Pulisic get his third assist of the Cup? Nope – Noppert claims. The Dutch keeper has been superb, beaten only by a bizarre touch that looped over him.
78 min: CHANCE! Noppert was uncapped before this Cup, and he has saved the Netherlands several times now, this time with a sliding tackle far out of his box to take the ball from Wright, who was somehow left alone!
This has become insane.
Margriet Krijgsman: “Why are you so pro USA? I am a big donor of Guardian BECAUSE they report if not neutrally at least realistically, and fair at all times. Do you secretly work for USA Today? I am sick of your evident preference for the US. I would be equally throwing up if you were so blatantly kow towing to the Dutch.”
No, I worked for USA Today from 1999 to 2010.
But to reiterate – the Dutch have finished clinically. The US have not. Fair play to them.
And Noppert will surely earn a BIG payday after this.
77 min: Yedlin has replaced Dest. Might hurt the attack a bit, but ..
Who needs clinical finishes? The US will take a weird looping touch off a great Pulisic cross that Wright somehow scuffs into the air and over everyone.
Game on? Game on!
75 min: CHANCE on a rare blunder by the Netherlands! A backpass finds Haji Wright, who ends up one-on-one with Noppert. His touch goes wide, and his tight angle shot is cleared.
74 min: Reyna tries an off-balance shot and hits his head in the process.
Colum Fordham: “The USA have been lively and shown sparks of good football (or soccer) – I did like Weah Junior’s volley – but Netherlands have been been more clinical. As an Englishman who idolised Johan Cruyff, I admit to a certain bias in favour of the Dutch but the USA have played pretty well in this tournament. A young enthusuastic team playing decent soccer but being outplayed when it comes to football.”
Looks like the experienced DeAndre Yedlin will soon appear. Maybe Robinson just can’t continue?
72 min: DOUBLE SAVE from Turner, and while the flag went up shortly afterwards, who knows what VAR would’ve said. Turner parries a hard shot from Koopmeiners, then immediately scrambles to knock aside a headed follow-up from Memphis.
A few seconds later, he races out to collect a dangerous ball.
Hard to imagine anyone whose stock has improved more in this tournament than Turner, even if he hasn’t been the busiest of keepers.
71 min: Corner kick for the Dutch, Virgil heads over.
I’ve been waiting to get to this one from Lennert Beurskens: “It seems like Van Gaal has (rightly) decided that we do not have the attacking nor midfield players to play the famed dominant Dutch Total Football against top teams. However, we do have some world class defenders, so the plan seems to be to play a sort of catenaccio counter attacking game. Hard to watch but so far extremely efficient. Best regards from the Netherlands.”
70 min: The US now leads in final third entries 34-14. But the Dutch efforts just look so much better. Zimmerman has been superb. Sorry I doubted you.
Robinson, who has shaken off his injury, makes a vital tackle.
68 min: Long stoppage there, for which the referee will surely compensate with 15 minutes after we play 90. I exaggerate. I hope.
Zimmerman safely plays it out to stop the onrushing Dutch.
Aaronson fouls Timber. Barely.
“Persistent infringement,” fyi, does not necessarily mean the same player committing all the fouls, and the next player who breathes on Pulisic should be sent to Dubai.
65 min: SUBS, but Robinson is down, and this might hold things up. Haji Wright, the closest thing to a traditional No. 9 on this squad, is ready to go, as is Aaronson, an industrious Leeds United teammate of Adams.
Will Berhalter need to replace Robinson instead? Would Berhalter gamble with three at the back? No, surely not. Robinson looks like he’ll continue.
So it’s Wright and Aaronson in for a disconsolate Weah and McKennie, the latter of whom was injured before the Cup and hasn’t been able to go 90.
63 min: Robinson stops Dumfries at one end, and the Dutch think it’s a penalty. It’s not. Both players are hurt, but we still go to the other end, where Pulisic sets up a chance for Weah that’s blocked. Back the other way briefly, but then it’s back to the US, where Pulisic probably should’ve fallen to draw a foul but instead keeps playing and oh my goodness would this game calm down so I can catch my breath because it’s still unlikely that the US will claw back two goals.
61 min: CHANCE as the Dutch break out. Robinson recovers well. There’s a scramble, and Memphis ends up forcing Turner to palm it over the bar. I think it was going high.
On the corner, Turner fails to collect, but that’s because he was fouled.
I see so much email coming in. My apologies for not getting to it.
60 min: Free kick is cleared easily, as all US set pieces are.
Then, oh my, a BRUTAL foul on Pulisic by the substitute Koopmeiners. That’s a yellow card, and it was absolutely cynical.
58 min: Game has gone quiet.
Gupta responds: “Yeah yeah Soccer word has its origin. But it doesn’t include neither foot nor ball, head, shoulder, chest, buttocks, crotch.”
Is that a reference to the Pulisic injury?
Oh, and he’s just been fouled again. Kick to the shins by Virgil.
Anyway, the Italians call it “calcio.” Go pick on them.
56 min: Weah has space in the middle, but the ball is headed clear.
There will be so many “what ifs” after this game.
53 min: CHANCE with McKennie shooting over the bar, set up brilliantly by Reyna.
Also, for Yash Gupta: Going 0-3 in the 1998 World Cup, with a loss to Iran and tawdry off-field issues, is humiliating. Failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament is humiliating.
This? If you think this is humiliating, I sentence you to watch the Houston Texans. Or read my book. Whichever is more painful.
52 min: Pulisic with a nice touch to create some space. His 18-yard shot is right at Noppert.
Credit Gakpo, incidentally, with that save off the line for the Dutch on the Ream shot.
51 min: Wow. End to end. Imagine if the score was 1-1 or 2-1.
Anyway, back to Gupta: “Soccer” is an English word derived from “association football” back when one group of Englishmen wanted to tackle each other and another wanted to kick each other.
50 min: CHANCE at the other end, and it’s a save by Matt Turner. Would’ve been an own goal for Zimmerman, but it was a vital intervention.
49 min: CHANCE cleared off the line as the ball falls to Ream on a corner, and the least likely US player to score nearly does so but can’t get much oomph at close range in tight space.
48 min: Ball is stuck in midfield while Louis van Gaal gestures about something.
Zimmerman and Ream cope very well with a Dutch attack here:
I’m going to argue with Yash Gupta: “From what I’ve understood, okay not so much, you’re more likely to do MBM if USMNT is playing in a World Cup. If that’s the case then it was a fun ride which unfortunately will end today with a humiliating defeat for USA. Not that I’m complaining. Anyone who calls a sport which is played with every body part except ‘arms’ Soccer, and actual game which is played with throwing ball with hands Football deserves nothing more.”
Just wait for my curling end-by-end.
47 min: It’s been noted that the last time the US came back to win from two goals down was in a 2015 friendly against … the Netherlands.
I think some of the US players were in middle school then.
46 min: A long throw-in from McKennie, and Noppert has to punch clear of Zimmerman. The best set piece from the US so far in this Cup is … a throw-in. Go figure.
Subs … GIO REYNA IS IN!
He’s replacing Ferreira.
The Dutch have two subs: Teun Koopmeiners replaces Davy Klaassen. Steven Bergwijn replaces Marten de Roon.
The US had 63% of possession in the first half. Japan, which barely had the ball but won its group finale, laughs.
We’re back on.
Is this what the Dutch wanted?
Fred Decker says what several correspondents are saying right now: “My impression, fwiw, is that the Dutch are choking the life and flow out of the game and hoping that the young, energetic American squad will make mistakes as they grow more frustrated. It’s not pretty, but van Gaal has been around long enough to know that getting the win is all that counts.”
Andy Gordon: “Whether ‘a kick in the knees’ is equivalent to ‘a kick in the shins’, ‘a kick in the Pulisics’ seems appropriate and ‘a kick in the Netherlands’ should cover everything.”
I think Denzel Dumfries is the bees’ knees. I’ve never understood that expression.
Peter Rehwaldt: “It seems as if a fair number of the US passes are going to where a receiving player IS, rather than where they are heading. Sometimes it means the pass misses completely (a cross that runs behind three attackers), and other times it means the receiver has to stop and wait for it (some of the midfield passes). Either way, passes like that stop any kind of momentum and movement.”
Peter Oh notes Dumfries, the man with two assists for the Dutch: “This might be the best Denzel performance I’ve seen on an American big screen since Fences.”
I’m partial to the scene in The Equalizer in which Denzel beats up all the yuppies.
Wow, the mail is flooding in …
The two best players for the US in this World Cup have been Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams, and Sergiño Dest has a claim to be the third best.
All three have had crucial mistakes today.
I don’t really blame Pulisic for failing to put away that chance. But his corner kick service was terrible, and he’s had a couple of wayward passes.
Adams simply lost Memphis on the first Dutch goal.
And Dest lost Blind.
And the US is … well, not lost, but this is a mountain to climb.
In the past, the US would’ve come out timidly for a game like this.
What we’ve seen in this Cup is a team attacking like demons and pinning back their opponents. They’re not just doing it to some Concacaf also-ran or Iran. They’ve done it to England and now the Netherlands.
That’s undoubtedly a sign of progress.
If only there could be some combination of this possession panache and either a Tab Ramos in midfield or a Brian McBride up front.
Mailbag after refreshment …
What a misleading scoreline that is. But the Dutch finished their two chances, neither of which Matt Turner could’ve stopped, and the US chances just weren’t quite good enough, both well saved by Noppert.
Coming up, my take on US progress …
We only have one minute of stoppage time, and it’s too long for the US. Dumfries works on the right, barely has space to get in a cross, but Blind races onto it and slams it home. Dest, for all his great work at the other end, just lost him.
45 min: Breathtaking end-to-end action! Dest drives into the box on a solo run and just has it poked away. Gakpo races the other way and outruns Ream, but Robinson tracks back well.
44 min: Fifa’s stats say the US has outcrossed the Netherlands 16-5 but only completed 2 to the Netherlands’ 1,
43 min: CHANCE! Weah absolutely blasts it from 22 yards out and stings Noppert’s hands as the big Dutch keeper reacts well.
The replay shows how perfect his technique on that bouncing ball really was.
42 min: Now I’m wondering if Pulisic is feeling the effects of his injury. Another good combination, and Ferreira contributes well this time, and it breaks down when Pulisic’s pass to the left wing is far off target.
Weah in particular is starting to look industrious. The son of one of the greatest players to never play in a World Cup is a good player, and ….
40 min: So whom would you like to see come on for the US at halftime? Reyna for incisive passes? Haji Wright for a pure striker? Brenden Aaronson just because?
Pulisic gets felled by Timber. Referee sternly warns him that he can only do that 18 more times.
38 min: Very nice combination work down the left. The US can’t get a shot out of it, but if they’re able to do that 40 more times in this game, it’ll surely work once.
Then it’s another bad touch from Ferreira.
37 min: Surprising news from Matt Schofield: “So i was settling in to watch the game, here in my home in Berlin, when I realized they are not broadcasting it. There have actually been quite a few games this year that have not been shown, which is shocking compared to everything through 2018. Anyway, long way of saying thanks for the minute by minute. You are my only hope (guess the movie reference?).”
Jedi Robinson surely appreciates.
35 min: Robinson finds Ferreira, who has a chance to pass it to McKennie or Pulisic but does neither.
Gio Reyna isn’t a striker, either, but would he help unlock this Dutch three- or four- or five-man defense?
Berhalter has not been making good adjustments at halftime. The US has outplayed all three opponents in the first half by a wide margin. The second halves … well …
34 min: McKennie hustles to keep the ball in play on the Dutch end line.
Sergei Nirenburg: “Nice to see the US show enthusiasm and technique.
But so far it’s boys against men, methinks.”
I don’t have the stats in front of me to quantify it, but this a very young US team. Bodes well for 2026, perhaps.
Richard McGahey: “Dutch playing 5 man back line when we attack, dropping wingbacks back outside tight three central defenders, slows us way down and hard to penetrate”
Yeah, the difference between a 3-5-2 and a 5-3-2 is more one of attitude or a game situation than anything else.
33 min: Now no one’s in the attacking third.
I like this comment from Walter Haugen: “Greetings – I live in France now but I am from the US and used to coach and referee youth soccer in the 1990s. I used to make a distinction with my players about the difference between a forward and a striker. A forward shoots on goal. A striker finishes. This is appropos of your comment that the US has the combination but cannot get the final pick in. Or get the final number. Whatever.”
The lack of a No. 9 has been an issue here, especially with Ricardo Pepi left off the roster and Jesus Ferreira not playing until today, where he doesn’t seem to be shaking off the rust. Josh Sargent, unavailable today due to injury, did OK in that role.
But what wouldn’t the US give for a Brian McBride right now?
29 min: Corner hits a gaggle of heads, and it’s judged to have gone off a US head last.
Zimmerman cleanly wins the header on the next one, and the Dutch manage only a wild pass attempt to keep it there. Pressure off for now.
USA lead 15-5 in final third entries, the stats say.
Replay of the goal shows Adams is the one who didn’t catch Memphis, but should someone else have been there? Hard to say.
28 min: Steady as she goes.
Ruth Purdue on tactics: “Looks like the Dutch are man marking in central areas when out of possession. Following their players a lot in there.”
Joe Pearson: “The midfield does not react fast enough when we lose possession.”
Perhaps so. Maybe the US is too reliant on Adams?
Zimmerman pokes a ball away for a corner.
26 min: So often, a goal livens up a game. This one seems to have stopped it dead in its tracks. The US is comfortably knocking the ball around in midfield but can’t find a way through.
Are the Dutch … bunkering?
Adam K has a tactical observation: “Fascinating and engaging game so far. One thing I’m liking (and one thing that the USA don’t seem to have caught on to yet) is that de Jong is dropping into the back line to form a back 4, kind of like he and van de Beek would do at Ajax. It feels like that’s really throwing the USA midfield and allowing de Jong to dictate from deep — but the USA are looking bright and speedy up front, specifically down the wings, and that’s causing problems for a slightly aged Dutch back line. It’s tantalisingly poised! Enjoy the match and cheers for doing the MBM.”
24 min: More combinations here from the US, but they keep forgetting the last number to pick the lock. Or something like that. Someone asked whether “a kick in the knees” is a US idiom, but I said that instead of “kick in the shins” because players wear shin guards. Often very small one. Why do they do that?
Our officials today are Brazilian. The man in the middle is Wilton Sampaio.
21 min: Memphis rushes a shot from a bad angle.
Gregg Berhalter is chatting with the fourth official about an offside call that the commentary team believes was a mistake because a defender played it. As a referee myself, I .. was looking at my keyboard.
But I will say Pulisic was just fouled, even if our referee disagrees.
I’ll check in on referee discussions as I have time. Which I don’t.
20 min: Richard McGahey quibbles with my take that we’re being cynical here, insisting that you can’t give the Dutch an inch or give Memphis an uncontested shot there. And yeah, he’s not wrong. I wouldn’t say the press as a whole has had no effect, though. In fact, I think the danger in pressing forward all the time is that players may sometimes forget to track everyone on the way back, and Tyler Adams can’t be everywhere.
As I type, US pressure forces Noppert to play too quickly for his tastes, and the US claims the ball in midfield.
17 min: Robinson makes a run into the box, but there’s just no passing lane.
I think it might be a tad harsh on Pulisic to call his shot a “miss.” I recall people saying that after the great German keeper Oliver Kahn made an terrific save on Landon Donovan in 2002. Pulisic had little time to shoot, and Noppert made a terrific save.
16 min: US still possessing. The Dutch players look like they’ve figured things out and might be able to get through on the counter.
Mary Waltz: “Pulisic should talk to Lukaku. You can’t miss when you get a chance. Pulisic missed, Memphis didn’t. Sad fact for my eagles. The US has never won a WC match when giving up the first goal.”
14 min: Tyler Adams takes a forearm to the face from Dumfries and checks his teeth. Look, you can set up a goal, but leave Adams alone, ‘k?