DOHA: Goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries guided the Netherlands to a 3-1 win over USA in the first Round of 16 match at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Dutch started the game on a strong note as Depay finished a 20-pass move, five first touch passes as they changed gears, in the 10th minute to give the Group A topper an early lead. A sensational move that saw nine Dutch players involved in the build-up and a first-time finish by the Barcelona winger. Just at the edge of the first half, Blind would give the Oranje a two goal cushion as he pounced onto the ball inside the USA box.
With the game very much in control of the Louis Van Gaal managed team, Hajey Wright provided the Group B runner ups with a ray of hope as he hit one back in the 76th minute. A move that developed with Christian Pulisic getting free on the right side of the box and sliding a cross in for Wright. A strange touch on the ball that saw it loop over Noppert and the Dutch defence to nestle into the far side of the goal.
However, it only took Dumfries to kill all hopes for the 2026 World Cup co-host as he latched onto a cross from the left, unmarked, and beat the goalkeeper with a first-time volley.
No-one would pretend this is a classic Dutch side but it has a sprinkling of quality in all areas and the beauty of its first goal, which would have delighted the purists in its homeland, was a graphic demonstration of its capabilities.
Virgil van Dijk is the world-class defensive leader alongside Nathan Ake, while both full-backs Blind and Dumfries made crucial contributions.
Frenkie de Jong brings control to midfield and there is real threat in the shape of Depay, who scored his first goal of this World Cup, and one of the break-out stars of this World Cup, Cody Gakpo.
It was a display that delighted the band of Dutch fans inside Khalifa International Stadium as Van Gaal’s side march on.
The States’ main man Pulisic looked close to tears after the final whistle as he reflected on the chance that got away in those opening moments, an opportunity that might have made this a very different tie.
Pulisic was sent through on goal by Tyler Adams’ clever delivery but the outstretched leg of Dutch keeper Noppert made the block. Pulisic should have scored and he knew it.
The Dutch will now face the winner of the Argentina-Australia fixture in the quarter final.
Result: Netherlands 3 (Depay 10, Blind 45+1, Dumfries 81) bt USA 1 (Wright 76)