The Netherlands beat Qatar easily to seal top spot in Group A as Louis van Gaal’s side are warming up very nicely at the World Cup.
Cody Gakpo scored his third goal in as many World Cup games to keep his superb form going at his maiden tournament, while in the second half Frenkie de Jong scored early and the Dutch strolled past the hosts.
Louis van Gaal also started Memphis Depay for the first time in the tournament, which was a huge boost for the Dutch. Qatar had a few chances but they went out with a whimper.
With the win the Netherlands were unbeaten in the group stage, picking up seven points from nine. Hosts Qatar lost all three games and finished bottom of Group A.
Watch out, the Netherlands are waking up
After a sleepy display in their win against Senegal in the opening game and then a poor second half display in their draw against Ecuador, the jury was out on the Dutch. We aren’t saying they are favorites to win the World Cup but their star players looked much better against Qatar. Memphis and Gakpo combined well in attack, Frenkie de Jong purred in midfield and VVD dominated at the back. The spine of their team hosts their stars but there are still a few issues defensively which need to be ironed out. Still, the Dutch are slowly waking up.
Stars of the show
Cody Gakpo: Grabbed another goal, always a threat on the last shoulder of the defender and linked up so well with Memphis. What a fantastic start to the tournament as PSV’s price tag continues to rise.
Frenkie de Jong: Got his goal and dictated play from central midfield. Somehow the Barcelona playmaker is underrated. He makes the Dutch tick. A special word for Davy Klaassen too, who grabbed an assist and is having a very enjoyable resurgence.
How to watch Netherlands vs Qatar live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 10am ET – Tuesday, November 29
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)
The Dutch double their lead early in the second half! Memphis Depay almost squeezes home at the far post but Frenkie de Jong then slots home the rebound. Game over.
GOAL! Cody Gakpo fires home as he scores for the third game running. A lovely low finish.
The Dutch have started really well as Memphis Depay slams over.
Key storylines, players to watch closely
The Netherlands know a big win will basically guarantee them top spot and that means they will probably face one of the USA or Iran in the last 16 rather than playing England. Louis van Gaal may not really care about who they play in the knockout rounds but it is clear that Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay and Frenkie de Jong are the heartbeat of this team. They need Memphis to be fit enough to start and Cody Gakpo has done his best to fill in with two goals in two games, including a beauty against Ecuador.
For Qatar it is now all about pride and trying to cause a big shock in their final World Cup game. Manager Felix Sanchez has worked so hard to get this team together as a unit but they have made big mistakes at key moments and they only really went for it in the second half against Senegal and they looked much better doing that. They have nothing to lose here so expect to see Qatar go for it from the start.
Netherlands quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 8
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 10
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group G)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Key players: Virgil van Dijk, Memphis Depay, Frenkie de Jong
Qatar quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 49
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 0
How they qualified: As hosts
Coach: Felix Sanchez
Key players: Abdelkarim Hassan, Almoez Ali, Hassan Al-Haydos
Netherlands storms past Qatar to seal top spot in Group A originally appeared on NBCSports.com