Liverpool have just seven total players playing for their countries in the World Cup, yet six of the seven have progressed through to the knock-out stage — with Darwin Núñez the only Red to miss out after Uruguay’s win in the early match slot today did not do enough to send them through.
Virgil Van Dijk will captain the Netherlands, who face the United States in the early match Saturday. The Dutch topped Group A, finishing the group stage with seven points and a goal difference of +4.
Van Dijk has played all 90 minutes of the three games thus far, and his Dutch defense has conceded a single goal. The Oranje face an American side who have scored two and conceded one across three narrow group stage fixtures.
Ibrahima Konaté’s France play next, facing Poland in the early match on Sunday. The young centerback has played more minutes than many expected, featuring in all three group stage games, twice in the starting line-up and once as a substitute. He will hope to go again against Poland after putting in an impressive performance in a much-changed team facing Tunisia.
England play the later game on Sunday, which will see Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold face a Sadio Mané-less Senegal. Neither Henderson nor Alexander-Arnold appear to be in manager Gareth Southgate’s chosen starting XI, with minutes limited for both. Alexander-Arnold saw himself limited to just 33 minutes, appearing as a substitute in the final group match against Wales (he came on with his side 2-0 up). Henderson has seen the pitch slightly more, coming on as a sub against the USA — and improving a terribly overwhelmed English midfield — and playing a full 90 against Wales.
Both are unlikely to start on Sunday given Southgate’s previous selections.
Brazil have guaranteed their progression into the knockouts with good results in their first two group matches, but play today to determine whether they face South Korea or Portugal. Alisson has performed well in the Brazil goal thus far in the tournament, starting the first two group matches ahead of Manchester City’s Ederson and keeping two clean sheets. In contrast, Fabinho has yet to feature for Brazil.
The two switch places today, with Fabinho getting his first start in the competition, and Alisson watching from the sidelines as Brazil rotate their squad for the final group match. Such rotation was always likely, as the Brazilians have already qualified.
Cameroon will likely go at the changed Brazilian side, as they need a win for a chance at progression — but will have to wait on the result in the group’s other match to determine their fate.