Cody Gakpo netted his third goal in three games as the Netherlands comfortably beat World Cup hosts Qatar 2-0 at the Al Bayt Stadium yesterday to secure top spot in Group A and advance to the knockout stages.
The Qataris had been eliminated after their 3-1 loss to Senegal and despite huge investment in state-of-the-art facilities to host the World Cup, they came up short again on the pitch.
They were not without their moments in a dull first half, forcing a couple of corners and threatening on the edge of the Dutch area, but no sooner had they bared their teeth than they were hit with a gut-punch of a goal by Gakpo.
Davy Klaassen played an inviting ball into the path of the 23-year-old and he received it at pace, slicing through the heart of the defence before dispatching a well-placed shot past Meshaal Bersham to open the scoring in the 26th minute.
Four minutes into the second half the Dutch struck again as a cross from Klaassen made its way to Depay and the Qatari defence was caught ball-watching as his shot was saved, allowing Frenkie de Jong to bundle it into the net.
With Qatar lacking the quality to mount a comeback, the Dutch had a goal ruled out after Gakpo was judged to have handled the ball in the build-up, but they still coasted to victory.
Asian champions Qatar will go back to the role of tournament hosts and plotting the future of the game in their country. –Reuters