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Good day, footy fans! I'm Roger Gonzalez and this is your Golazo XI Newsletter! Soccer lovers, perhaps feeling withdrawal, are wondering if we will see even more upsets when the World Cup "break" comes to an end on Friday with the start of the quarterfinals. We'll get to that and much more below!

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⚽  The Forward Line

Which teams are on upset alert? 

Friday's slate includes Croatia vs. Brazil at 10 a.m. ET and then Argentina vs. Netherlands at 2 p.m. ET. Saturday we get Cinderella Morocco against Portugal at 10 a.m. ET and then the biggest one of all, France vs. England, at 2 p.m. ET. The favorites in those encounters are Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and France. Let's rank which teams are on upset alert!

  • 4. Brazil: This feels like the least likely because Brazil just put four past South Korea, and this isn't the Croatia of 2018. This team is a tough out, but it's wild to realize that it has not won a knockout stage match in regulation since 1998. This certainly feels like a team that can force extra time, and then whatever happens there, happens. Croatia allowed just two goals in four games thus far, and they have the experience to compete with this star-studded Brazil side.
  • 3. France: This one would not feel like as big of an upset as the others because the Three Lions are actual contenders to win it all. But there is no doubt that the reigning World Cup champs with Golden Boot frontrunner Kylian Mbappe are the narrow favorites. Mbappe has five goals in the tournament, and England's defense will be tested big time. It wouldn't be a surprise really if England squeaked out a win, but stopping Mbappe will be key.
  • 2. Argentina: These two meet again. After last facing off in the semifinals of 2014, Argentina and Netherlands square off with a semifinal spot on the line. The Dutch were impressive on the counter against the United States in the round of 16, while the Albiceleste should have made quicker work of Australia. The Dutch winning would be a bit of an upset considering that Argentina are one of the favorites to win it all, but they totally feel like a team that could pull it off. The Dutch have speed and technical ability in attack through Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay, and Argentina's defenders can at times be stiff and reckless with a player who can run at them. 
  • 1. Portugal: This is the one that everybody has their eyes on with Cinderella Morocco looking to cause more pain to the Iberian Peninsula. After beating Spain in the round of 16 on penalty kicks, they get a chance to boot Cristiano Ronaldo from the World Cup, though it wouldn't be surprising if he starts this one on the bench, just like he did in the 6-1 win over Switzerland. The Moroccans are united, they've given up one goal all tournament, and they have the belief that they can do it. They may not create a lot of chances, but they are efficient with them. And while this would be quite the upset, it feels like the most likely to occur. 

For more on the World Cup quarterfinals:

  • House of Champions podcast breaks down the World Cup quarterfinals and have differing opinions on Argentina-Netherlands.

🔗  Midfield Link Play

USMNT coaching candidates in case Berhalter leaves

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Gregg Berhalter's contract as United States men's national team coach is up at the end of the year, but he reportedly is set for discussions with the federation over a possible extension. But the fact that he doesn't have one yet means anything is possible, and the Americans could be after a new coach before long if they don't come to terms. Chuck Booth took a look at some of the candidates, including Leeds' American coach Jesse Marsch and Roberto Martinez, who just left his position as the Belgium manager

But I'm here to tell you why it should be former Germany boss Joachim Low, who Booth also had on his list of candidates.

First, he's won a World Cup with Germany in 2014. Sure, he picks his nose and does some other questionable things while on the bench, but come on, how great of a get would he be? He is organized, demanding and holds his players accountable, and you get the chance to potentially coach the U.S. at the 2024 Copa America and then play as a host of the World Cup? Low knows English, so that wouldn't be an issue, and his experience with getting far in competitions should give the U.S. an advantage come 2026. The fact that so many Americans now play in Europe is also helpful as he is surely familiar with the likes of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and others.

Low's style encourages the attacking players to fight to win the ball, quickly transition to attack, and have the technical ability to play within a tight space and break down a defense. With this talented attacking bunch of the U.S., it feels like a system that could really work. 

Now, let's hit some links:

💰  The Back Lines

With no games today, let's look ahead to tomorrow's action at the World Cup:  

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Brazil vs. Croatia, Friday at 10 a.m. ET
    💰 THE PICK: Both teams to score (+115). The South Americans have conceded in back-to-back games, Croatia are likely going to need to go in search of a goal, and this feels like pretty good value here, especially considering that the Europeans are superb on attacking set pieces. Tite's team play such an attacking style that they often just have a player or two in the middle, so a transition to attack for Croatia could give them the chances they need to score. Your SportsLine predictions here.
  • Argentina vs. Netherlands, Friday at 2 p.m. ET
    💰 THE PICK: Julian Alvarez to score (+270).
    Alvarez is the hot hand for Argentina, having scored in back-to-back games, relegating Lautaro Martinez to the bench. He pressures the ball, he is attentive, his relationship with Lionel Messi and Enzo Fernandez on the pitch is only growing, and he has delivered so far, so let's ride the pick for him to score here at great value. We saw how the Dutch can be under big-time pressure against a team that likes to have the ball, and it's fair to say that the Netherlands were outplayed in the first half-hour by the U.S., Ecuador and Senegal. Sure, they manage to grind out results, but Argentina will be their biggest test, and Alvarez will get his chance. Your SportsLine predictions here.