Happy Friday! It's the last day of simultaneous group stage games. Enjoy it while you can because you're probably not going to see it in future World Cups as the format expands. I'm Igor Mello, filling in for Mike Goodman, and let's get right to it!

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Friday at the World Cup:

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⚽  The Forward Line

How USMNT should line up

The United States are in the round of 16 for the first time in eight years and they made it here without losing a group-stage game and without conceding a goal on open play. Not many teams in the last 16 can check those two boxes off. 

As we gear up for the Netherlands game, it'll be interesting to see how these two match up, especially because Louis van Gaal's side might try to sit back and control possession while the Americans have a strong midfield and might want to press and run and interrupt those passes from the Dutch in the middle of the park.

So how do we want to see the Americans line up against the Dutch? Former USMNTers Charlie Davies and Heath Pearce, two-thirds of the In Soccer We Trust podcast team, break it down:

CBS Sports
  • Charlie Davies' XI: Matt Turner; Sergino Dest, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Tim Ream, Antonee Robinson; Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah, Weston McKennie; Tim Weah, Josh Sargent, Christian Pulisic.
  • Davies' reasoning: "Zero changes from the game against Iran. I'm assuming Sargent and Pulisic are completely healthy, and with that being said, the only discussion among the starting XI positions is who do you go with between Cameron Carter-Vickers and Walker Zimmerman. For me, against the Netherlands, a team that typically dominates possession, when you do have possession, you have to keep it. You can't give it back. Cameron Carter-Vickers is much more secure with the ball at his feet, much more secure when connecting the pass to the right option than Walker Zimmerman. This isn't a game where you have to rely on long balls and defend cross after cross."
CBS Sports
  • Heath Pearce's XI: Turner; Dest, Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson; Adams, Musah, McKennie; Weah, Sargent, Pulisic.
  • Pearce's reasoning: "I lean more toward the partnership he [Zimmerman] built with Tim Ream in those first couple of games. I think we go back to that. But having said that, I'm not sure why we switched away from that against Iran in the first place. If one of them plays and the other doesn't, I'm not fearful of what's going to happen because they both now have gotten the taste of what it's going to take and be able to simplify the game."

For more on the USMNT game, Grant Wahl is in Qatar and he shares his latest mailbag, which includes he's projected starting lineup.

Craving more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a daily CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during the big games in Qatar. 

🔗  Midfield Link Play

How to prepare for Gakpo

Cody Gakpo has the hot hand with three goals off of four shots on frame during this World Cup. The 23-year-old has outperformed his non-penalty expected goals (npxG) and his expected assists (xA), averaging 0.56 goals per 90 minutes and 0.96 assists, according to fbref. Surely, he can't keep this up, can he? Is there anything the U.S. can do to cool him down?

James Benge, on how the USMNT should plan for Gakpo: "One wonders whether the presence of Sergino Dest, no one's idea of a lockdown defender, might prompt a slight tweak of formations or positioning so that the Netherlands can get Gakpo one on one with the USMNT's right back. If so, Berhalter might want to consider replicating the off-ball 4-4-2 that so quelled England on Matchday 2 with Weston McKennie acting as ballast in front of Dest."

Our Roger Gonzalez also has a detailed scouting report on the Dutch. Make sure to check that out.

Let's get to some links:

💰  The Back Lines

Best bets

Let's pick some games! All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Cameroon vs. Brazil, Friday, 2 p.m. ET 
    💰 THE PICK: Player to score two or more, Gabriel Jesus (+600). Look, this is another big swing, but with Richarlison and all of the main starters on the bench because of a 66-hour turnaround between this game and their knockout stage game, this is the Arsenal man's chance to prove himself worthy of more playing time. Even a B-team version of Brazil is entertaining to watch, and without Andre Onana between the sticks, Jesus will look to light it up.
  • Serbia vs. Switzerland, Friday, 2 p.m. ET 
    💰 THE PICK: Under 1.5 goals (+230). This is a tricky Swiss team to score on. They conceded only two goals in eight qualifying games and gave Brazil very little breathing room to create any big chances. On the flip side, this is a Swiss team that has only scored one goal in this tournament, so the logic is that this will be a low-scoring affair.