The US6 National Team will put it all on the line tonight in a do-or-die Round of 16 elimination game against defending WMF World Cup champion Czech Republic at 8:30pm local time (8:30am EDT, 5:30am PDT).
The US ended group play with a 2-1 record and only three goals allowed, but lost the top seed when they failed to generate any offense in a 2-0 loss to Brazil.
Czech Republic earned the top spot in their group after a less-than-convincing 4-2 win over Serbia last night, but finished with the best goal differential in the tournament at +26. Tonight will be their third game in three days thanks to a rainout on October 4.
Had Serbia won last night they would be facing the US today and Czech Republic would get a rematch against Brazil. Those two teams took turns eliminating each other in the 2015 and 2017 WMF World Cups.
Instead it’s a rematch of the 2015 WMF World Cup, where the US beat Czech Republic 5-4 in group play. That year the tournament played an arena soccer format. Since that loss, Czech Republic has won 10 straight World Cup games.
Czech Republic had all it could handle last night from Serbia, but was able to break a 2-2 tie thanks to a penalty kick goal against Serbia’s third string goalkeeper, followed by a goal that most ‘keepers would have saved.
Nonetheless it will be incumbent upon the US to play their best minifootball ever tonight if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals. Tonight’s winner will face the winner of Mexico (hello, Mexico!) and Tunisia.