Malacia's Netherlands progress to the last 16

Tuesday 29 November 2022 17:01

Tyrell Malacia may not have featured, but the Netherlands impressed once more to defeat hosts Qatar and progress to the World Cup's last 16 as Group A champions.

Goals from Cody Gakpo and Frenkie de Jong either side of half-time were enough to seal a valuable win for Louis van Gaal's side and confirm the Oranje's spot at the top of their group.

Gakpo's unerring finish from Davy Klaassen's pass opened the scoring, before Frenkie de Jong hammered home a rebound just after the break, following a saved effort from former Reds winger Memphis.

The Netherlands saw out the rest of the match in a controlled manner, with Qatar never really threatening, to seal a last-16 clash with whichever nation finishes second in Group B - England's group.

The hosts had the first opportunity of the match within the first few minutes, when a rogue pass out from the Dutch defence fell to Abdulaziz Hatem just outside the box, but his drive was thwarted by Andries Noppert.

Minutes later, the Netherlands went close, when Memphis drove into the box and was crowded out, only for the ball to fall to Daley Blind whose right-footed effort was blocked.

It didn't take van Gaal's men long to break the deadlock, however, as Gakpo exchanged passes with Klaassen on the edge of the box before curling his effort home on 26 minutes - his third goal of the tournament.

The teams cancelled each other out for the remainder of the half, as the Netherlands went in at the break with a one-nil lead.

The Oranje started the second half with much energy, and doubled their lead less than five minutes after the restart.

Memphis gambled on a misplaced defensive header at the back post to get a shot away, and when his shot was parried, De Jong was in the right place at the right time to hammer the ball into the back of the net.

Van Gaal's side threatened to run away with it, with substitutes Vincent Janssen and Steven Berghuis combining to score, only for the goal to be chalked off for a handball from Gakpo in the build-up.

Soon after, Denzel Dumfries saw a close-range effort repelled by Meshaal Barsham at the near post.

As the match entered the final stages, Qatar threatened a little more, with Homam Ahmed driving in a dangerous low cross which Noppert was able to clear.

But the Netherlands were still in control of the contest and they almost added a third goal in injury time, when Berghuis's strike rattled back off the crossbar. That effort was the last of the game, as the Oranje booked their place in the last 16 as Group A winners.

In the other Group A match, Senegal emerged as 2-1 victors over Ecuador, leapfrogging their South American opponents to go through as runners-up.