Football: Netherlands see off sorry Qatar to reach World Cup last 16

Jed Court, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 30 2022 02:02 AM | Updated as of Nov 30 2022 05:51 AM

Homam Ahmed of Qatar reacts after the FIFA World Cup 2022 group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, 29 November 2022. EPA-EFE/Tolga Bozoglu
Homam Ahmed of Qatar reacts after the FIFA World Cup 2022 group A soccer match between the Netherlands and Qatar at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, 29 November 2022. EPA-EFE/Tolga Bozoglu

AL KHOR, Qatar—Cody Gakpo scored again as the Netherlands booked their place in the World Cup last 16 as group winners with a straightforward 2-0 victory over hosts Qatar on Tuesday.

The Netherlands, needing just a point to be sure of progressing, put one foot in the next round inside the first half-hour as Gakpo scored for a third straight group game.

Frenkie de Jong added another in the 49th minute as the Dutch cruised through in a flat atmosphere at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Qatar, already eliminated before kick-off, suffered the ignominy of becoming the first home team in World Cup history to finish the group stage without a point.

Louis van Gaal's Dutch side ended with seven points at the top of Group A, while Senegal joined them in the knockout phase as runners-up after beating Ecuador 2-1.

The Oranje will next take on the second-placed team from Group B for a quarter-final spot at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.

England currently top that section and face Wales later on Tuesday, while the United States play Iran. All four teams are still in the hunt for qualification.

The Dutch have made a solid start as they look to put the disappointment of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia firmly behind them.

Qatar signed off from their long-awaited home World Cup with a whimper, securing their place in the record books as the worst-ever hosts on the pitch.

Van Gaal was able to give Memphis Depay his first start of the tournament as the Barcelona star continued his return to full fitness after a hamstring injury.

It did not take the Dutch long to slice through the Qatar defense, although Daley Blind could only scuff a fourth-minute attempt straight at goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham.

The opening goal arrived in the 26th minute as Davy Klaassen played in Gakpo after a neat move also involving Depay.

The PSV Eindhoven winger drove forward and drilled a low strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the box to score his third goal of the tournament.

The three-time World Cup runners-up took advantage of shoddy Qatar defending to double their advantage four minutes after the break.

Depay was denied from close range by Barsham but De Jong reacted quicker than a ponderous Pedro Miguel to poke the ball home from barely a yard out.

Substitute Steven Berghuis thought he had added a third midway through the second half, only for his goal to be ruled out after a VAR check for a handball by Gakpo in the build-up.

There was brief excitement for the remaining home supporters late on when Mohammed Muntari prodded the ball into the net, but the whistle had long since gone for a foul on Virgil van Dijk.

The Netherlands almost piled more misery onto Qatar in stoppage time when Berghuis' excellent curling strike from range hit the crossbar.

RELATED VIDEO

Watch more News on iWantTFC