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Why the Netherlands is sometimes called Holland

The U.S. faces the Netherlands in the knockout round. But in the past they've sometimes been called Holland. It can be confusing, so here's what you need to know.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. team will face off against the Netherlands on Saturday for a chance at a spot in the World Cup quarterfinals.

The Americans have several Dutch ties including U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter, who went to the Netherlands 28 years ago to turn pro

Here's what you need to know about the U.S.A. opponent for the knockout round matchup. 

Where is the Netherlands located? 

The Netherlands, formally known as the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is a small country between Belgium and Germany in western Europe. 

It's bordered by the North Sea to the north and west of the country. The Netherlands is about the size of the state of Maryland, with a population of just over 17 million people. 

What language do they speak in the Netherlands?

People in the Netherlands speak Dutch. It's a Germanic language closely related to English and German. About 25 million people speak it as their first language, mostly in northwestern Europe.

Why is the Netherlands also called Holland?

That's because the Netherlands is actually made up of 12 different provinces, including two Hollands. 

As the Netherlands Embassy explains: "You might know us as Holland, and we understand. We’ve called ourselves that for years. But we actually have two Hollands: North and South. They are two prominent provinces, and are similar to US states. The Hague is in South Holland and Amsterdam is in North Holland."

"Either way, the name of our country is the Netherlands. And we’re Dutch," the embassy tweeted ahead of the World Cup matchup with America. 

The Dutch government made the decision in 2020 to stop using the name Holland and only go by the Netherlands as part of a large branding campaign, Forbes reported at the time

Credit: AP
A fan waits for the World Cup group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Who is coaching the Netherlands team?

Louis van Gaal, at 71, is the oldest coach in the World Cup. 

Van Gaal guided the Netherlands to third place in the 2014 tournament and has won seven league titles with Ajax, AZ Alkmaar, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

But despite his prolific coaching exeprience, the Netherlands' demanding soccer fans aren't predicting an easy victory. 

“If I have to believe the Dutch media, we’ll never become world champion,” Van Gaal said in Dutch. “In 2014 it was exactly the same. Extremely negative. Now it’s the same all over again. I am used to it, and I think my players are used to it, so we will calmly move on.”

Credit: AP
A fan waits for the start of the World Cup group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Where do the teams stand going into the match?

A losing finalist in 1974, 1978 and 2010, the Netherlands began this tournament with a 2-0 win over Senegal, tied Ecuador 1-1 and beat Qatar 2-0 to top Group A. The team has an 18-game win streak headed into its match with the U.S. 

The U.S. has played the Netherlands five times, all friendlies. The Americans lost four before rallying late for a 4-3 win in 2015. They have not reached the quarterfinals since 2002, losing the round of 16 games in extra time to Ghana in 2010 and Belgium in 2014.

The U.S. has allowed only one goal at the World Cup. 

If USA beats Netherlands, who would they face next?

After completing one upset, the United States would likely need another much, bigger upset in the next round.

Team USA's opponents in the quarterfinals would be Argentina (third-ranked in the world) or Australia (38th-ranked in the world).

That quarterfinal matchup would be on Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. ET.

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