Round of 16, Day 1
Netherlands 3-1 USA
Group A winners Netherlands and Group B runners-up Australia faced off in the Round of 16 opening match. USA was first to shoot on target, coming out of the tunnel with obvious intent to attack from the beginning of the match. However USA were punished only 10 minutes into the match when Denzel Dumfries crossed low from a quickly-organized counter for Memphis Depay to coolly place into the net for the first goal of the match.
USA did not cower and continued to put pressure on the Netherlands, but attempts on goal were rare in the first half. Meanwhile the Netherlands remained patient and scored again in the dying minutes of the first half when Dumfries once again crossed low to an unattended Daley Blind, who extended the Netherlands' lead.
In the second half, USA did not give up but seemed to be out of ideas to breach Andries Noppert's goal until substitute Haji Wright's (lucky?) first touch from a Christian Pulisic corner looped over everyone including the Noppert in the 76th minute.
It seemed like it might be game on at that point, but five minutes later, the Dutch killed the match with a third goal scored by the man-of-the-match Dumfries as he sneaked behind the American defenders to receive Blind's cross with a volley into the net. Game over.
Argentina 2-1 Australia
Group C winners Argentina took on one of the potential dark horses of the World Cup: Group D runners-up Australia. As predicted, Australia played the same defensive style they adopted against Tunisia and Denmark, successfully knocking both teams out of the World Cup.
Argentina enjoyed that South American advantage that tends to allow them to avoid getting pinned down by aggressive defenses; instead they were winning fouls close to the Australian goal. Lionel Messi finally broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when Nicolas Otamendi teed up De Paul's pass inside the box for Messi to finish into the net.
In the second half Argentina took no chances and did not stop pressuring the ball. Twelve minutes in, young Manchester City striker Julian Alvarez dispossessed Australia's goalkeeper Mathew Ryan with the help of De Paul to extend Argentina's lead.
Australia had no choice but to abandon its defensive strategy and switch on the attack. Argentina remained in generally in control but a long shot deflected off of Enzo Fernandez and found its way into the back of Martinez net in the 77th minute. Both teams had several more attempts in the remaining time, but there would be no further goals for either side.