The Netherlands confirmed their status as favorites in Group A and advanced to the World Cup knockout stages in first place thanks to a comprehensive 2-0 win over Qatar on Tuesday’s group stage finale in Al Khor. And Frenkie De Jong scored his first World Cup goal in the process, ensuring that he and Barcelona teammate Memphis Depay booked a place in the Round of 16.
The Dutch cruised from the very beginning against a Qatar side that once again had a very disappointing showing in front of the home crowd, and the Oranje never needed to step on the gas pedal to get out of trouble on the night. They didn’t take any risks and created enough chances to get the goals they needed, and they got one in each half.
The opener came 26 minutes in after a nice passing sequence in the middle and an assist from Davy Klaassen to Cody Gakpo, who continued his breakout performance in the tournament with an excellent finish from the edge of the box to put the Dutch in front.
The second came early in the final period when a cross from the right was deflected and found Memphis Depay at the far post, and after his shot was saved by the keeper it was Frenkie who reacted quickest to the rebound and fired it home from close range.
There was not much action in the final minutes and both De Jong and Memphis were substituted to get some extra rest, and the Dutch cruised to the finish to clinch all three points and the top spot in the group.
As Group A winners the Dutch will open the Round of 16 on Saturday against the team that finishes second in Group B, which will be decided later today when Wales face England and Iran take on the United States. Senegal finished second thanks to a thrilling 2-1 win over Ecuador, and will face the winner of Group B on Sunday.