The first two Barcelona players in action in the 2022 World Cup made a winning start to the tournament as the Netherlands beat Senegal 2-0 in the second game of Group B in Doha, thanks in large part to Frenkie De Jong who played a beautiful assist for Cody Gakpo who scored a late opener to give the Oranje three big points. Memphis Depay came on in the second half for the final 30 minutes and was involved in the second goal deep in added time, and Louis Van Gaal’s side picked up three big points in a tough match.
Senegal are missing their talisman for the World Cup in the injured Sadio Mané, and his absence clearly showed as the African side played a very good defensive match as a team to slow down the Netherlands attack and get out on the counter, but they lacked threat up front to truly trouble the Dutch defense.
The Netherlands struggled to attack all evening, and Frenkie was the only player who truly tried to go forward and create danger. De Jong was involved in everything good the Dutch did in the game, including the crucial opening goal: in the 84th minute, just as it seemed like the game was destined for a goalless draw, Frenkie pulled off a masterful assist with a perfect cross to find Gakpo all alone in the box and the PSV forward headed home the opener.
Senegal pushed in the final minutes but couldn’t find the equalizer, and Memphis was involved in the second as his effort from outside the box was saved by Édouard Mendy before Davy Klaassen scored the rebound to make it 2-0 in the 99th minute. The final whistle followed shortly after, and the Dutch are up and running.
Up next for Frenkie and Memphis is a meeting with group leaders Ecuador on Friday, and the winner of that will secure qualification for the knockout stage with a game to spare.