Netherlands exit regret Qatar will make the World Cup’s round of 16
The Netherlands easily defeated Qatar 2-0 on Tuesday to secure their place in the World Cup’s round of 16 as group champions. Cody Gakpo scored once more.
Gakpo scored for the third straight game in the group, giving the Netherlands the advantage they needed to advance with just a point needed.
In the 49th minute, Frenkie de Jong added another as the Dutch easily won at the Al Bayt Stadium in a dull atmosphere.
Louis van Gaal’s Dutch team finished with seven points at the top of Group A, while Senegal joined them in the knockout stage as runners-up after defeating Ecuador 2-1. Qatar, who had already been eliminated prior to kickoff, suffered the humiliation of becoming the first home team in World Cup history to finish the group stage without a point.
At the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday, the Oranje will play the second-placed team from Group B for a place in the quarterfinals.
Currently, in first place in that division, England plays Wales later on Tuesday while the United States takes on Iran. The Dutch have gotten off to a strong start as they try to put the disappointment of missing out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia behind them. All four teams are still in the running for qualification.
With a whimper, Qatar concluded their eagerly anticipated home World Cup, cementing their reputation as the tournament’s worst hosts ever.
As Memphis Depay completed his comeback from a hamstring injury, Van Gaal was able to give the Barcelona star his first start in the competition.
Although Daley Blind could only scuff a fourth-minute attempt straight at goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham, it did not take the Dutch long to breach the Qatari defense.
In the 26th minute, Gakpo scored the game’s first goal after a deft pass from Davy Klaassen that also involved Memphis Depay.
The PSV Eindhoven winger advanced and, from the edge of the box, fired a low shot into the bottom corner for his third goal of the competition.
Four minutes after the half, the three-time World Cup runners-up increased their lead by taking advantage of the poor Qatari defense.
Barsham denied Depay from close range, but De Jong moved faster than a slow-moving Pedro Miguel to poke the ball in from just a yard away.
Midway through the second half, substitute Steven Berghuis thought he had added a third goal, but a VAR review found that Gakpo had handled the ball in the buildup, and the goal was disallowed.
Mohammed Muntari’s late goal into the net briefly excited the surviving home fans, although the whistle had already blown for Virgil van Dijk’s foul by that point.
When Berghuis’ superb long-range curling shot hit the crossbar in stoppage time, the Netherlands nearly inflicted even more suffering on Qatar.