Netherlands 2-0 Qatar: Gakpo and De Jong send Oranje into last 16 as Group A winners
Cody Gakpo scores the Netherlands' first goal in their 2-0 win Group A win over Qatar at the 2022 World Cup: Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images 

Netherlands triumphed to finish Group A ahead of Senegal, who also progressed to the knockout stages courtesy of a 2-1 win over Ecuador in the other concluding fixture in this group, which was played simultaneously.

Gakpo’s 26th-minute strike – his third in three group stage matches – and De Jong’s in the 49th punctuated a comfortable evening for the Dutch against Félix Sánchez’s side who became the first host nation to exit the World Cup without gaining a point.

The Netherlands will now meet the team that finishes second in Group B – either England, Iran, the USA or Wales – in the round of 16 at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday.

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Van Gaal made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Ecuador on Friday, as Teun Koopmeiners and Steven Bergwijn made way for Marten de Roon and Memphis Depay.

Seeing Memphis start will have been a welcome sight for Dutch fans, with the Barcelona forward steadily increasing his minutes as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury that he picked up in September.

Sánchez, meanwhile, made just the one alteration from the side that lost 3-1 to Senegal last time out, as Abdelaziz Hatem came in for Karim Boudiaf in midfield.

It didn’t take long for the game to settle into a rhythm of Dutch dominance, and that was largely maintained throughout a first-half in which they enjoyed 68% possession.

That didn’t produce an immense number of openings, but it produced enough.

Within four minutes, good work by Memphis and Davy Klaassen allowed Daley Blind to get a shot off in the box and force a good save out of Meshaal Aissa Barsham.

10 minutes later, Memphis volleyed over when De Jong’s effort was deflected into his path by Klaassen – and then the goal came.

Gakpo’s finish did justice to the interplay that preceded it. One-touch combinations on the edge of the box saw Klaassen slide the ball into the path of the PSV Eindhoven man who worked an angle and duly swept a superb right-footed finish into the bottom-right corner.

A perfect hat-trick of group stage goals for the 23-year-old, after his header against Senegal and his thumping left-footed drive against Ecuador.

There was a rare moment of promise for the hosts soon after as right wing-back Ismaeel Mohamad burst forward but his 25-yard shot was comfortably gathered.

Van Gaal’s team remained comfortable for what remained of the half and then doubled their advantage early in the second.

Klaassen was involved again, as his cross was deflected into the path of Memphis at the far-post, who saw a point-blank attempt brilliantly saved by Barsham before De Jong sharply tucked home the rebound.

Familiarly impressive with his tempo-setting work and clever darts in midfield thus far at the tournament, it was good to see the 25-year-old display a sharp goalscoring instinct.

Alongside the likes of Gakpo, Memphis and Virgil van Dijk, he will likely play a big part for the Dutch if they are to go deep into the knockout stages.

With an additional cushion now earned, Oranje saw out their victory with considerable ease and little in the way of drama.

Indeed, in the minutes that remained, the vast majority of the notable action came in and around the Qatar penalty area.

Substitute Steven Berghuis looked to have notched a third in the 68th minute, but a check of the VAR screen by referee Bakary Gassama saw Gakpo penalised for a handball in the build-up.

And Berghuis then struck the bar with a superb curling effort in stoppage time.

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Another big goal and big performance from a man who has become one of the most sought after young players in Europe in recent months – and one of the most impactful players at this tournament.

Once again, he offered a persistent, wide-ranging, threat up top.

For the third match running, he opened the scoring – this time with a brilliant low drive from 18 yards.

Joint top-scorer at the tournament at present, he looks a genuine contender for the Golden Boot and should continue to give the Dutch a unique set of attacking attributes in the knockout stages.

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