FIFA World Cup, NED vs QAT: Cody Gakpo scored again as the Netherlands advanced to the World Cup last 16 as group champions with a 2-0 win over hosts Qatar.
Cody Gakpo netted again as the Netherlands advanced to the World Cup last 16 as group winners with a 2-0 victory against Qatar on Tuesday. The Netherlands, needing only a point to advance, had one foot in the next round within the opening half-hour when Gakpo scored for the third time in a row. Frenkie de Jong scored another in the 49th minute as the Dutch strolled to victory at Al Bayt Stadium. Qatar, which had already been eliminated before the game began, experienced the humiliation of being the first host team in World Cup history to end the group stage without a point.
The Dutch finished with seven points at the top of Group A, while Senegal advanced to the knockout stage after defeating Ecuador 2-1.
On Saturday, the Oranje will face the second-placed team from Group B for a quarter-final spot at the Khalifa International Stadium.
England presently leads that group and will face Wales later on Tuesday, while the United States will face Iran. All four teams are still vying for a spot in the tournament.
The Dutch have made a strong start as they attempt to put their disappointment at failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia behind them.
Qatar exited their long-awaited home World Cup with a whimper, cementing their place in history as the worst ever hosts on the field.
Van Gaal gave Memphis Depay his first start of the tournament as the Barcelona sensation began his recovery from a hamstring injury.
The Dutch made quick work of the Qatar defence, however Daley Blind could only scuff a fourth-minute effort straight at goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham.
The first goal came in the 26th minute, when Davy Klaassen put in Gakpo following a nice move that also included Depay.
To score his third goal of the tournament, the PSV Eindhoven winger raced forward and fired a low strike into the bottom corner from the outside of the box.
The three-time World Cup runner-up capitalised on sloppy Qatari defence to increase their lead four minutes after the interval.
Barsham denied Depay from close range, but De Jong reacted faster than a sluggish Pedro Miguel to push the ball home from just a yard out.
Midway through the second half, substitute Steven Berghuis believed he had added a third goal, only to have it ruled out due to a VAR check for a handball by Gakpo in the build-up.
The remaining home fans were ecstatic late on when Mohammed Muntari nudged the ball into the net, although the whistle had already gone for a foul on Virgil van Dijk. In stoppage time, the Netherlands almost added insult to injury when Berghuis’ superb curling shot from range struck the crossbar.