The Netherlands became the first team to reach the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup after a brilliant performance by Denzel Dumfries to beat the United States 3-1 in their Round of 16 encounter at the Khalifa International Stadium here on Saturday. Memphis Depay (10th minute), Dale Blind (45+1) and Dumfries (81st) scored for the Netherlands. Dumfries also assisted on the other two goals. Netherlands, who topped Group A with two wins and a draw, were touted as favorites going into the tie and performed accordingly.
They will now face the winner of the late night match between Argentina and Australia in the quarterfinals. Haji Wright scored the lone goal for the US in the 76th minute. Good teams only need one chance to score and that was the case with the Netherlands. The start of the match saw good passing in midfield and on one such pass, Denzel Dumfries found Memphis Depay’s cross over the box and he beautifully volleyed into the net on the left. US goalkeeper Matt Turner had no chance to stop it.
It was Depay’s 44th international goal as the Netherlands took a 1–0 lead. In injury time before half time, Dale Blind scored the second goal for the team. With this, the three-time runner-up in the World Cup, ‘Oranje’ doubled the lead. Dumfries then assisted on the goal, his cross being fired into the corner of the net by Blind on a run from the US box. After the first goal, however, the game slowed down a bit with the US team having more possession of the ball but the team could not make any good effort. This did not put any pressure on the defense line of the Netherlands. America needed a change of strategy to get back in the match. In the 43rd minute, Netherlands goalkeeper Andreas Knoppert was put to the test when Tim Vea’s shot from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by a diving move. In the second half, the United States increased their attack, with Kristian Pulisic’s shot going straight into the hands of the Netherlands goalkeeper in the 52nd minute.
Two minutes later, McKenney’s shot went over the crossbar for the Netherlands. In the 60th minute, Teune Kooopmaners of the Netherlands was shown a yellow card for a foul on Kristian Pulisic. In the very next minute, American goalkeeper Matt Turner made a brilliant save to deny Memphis Depay a second goal. The US players were desperate to score and fired a lot of shots under pressure. Substitute Haji Wright missed a good chance to score in the 75th minute but reduced the gap with a goal in the very next minute.
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Right on Pulisic’s cross made it into the net. The Netherlands then went on the attack and Dumfries, who assisted in scoring the two goals, took advantage of a wonderful opportunity in the 81st minute to easily put his side ahead 3-1. Depay passed the ball past the American defenders on the left to Blind, who headed the cross towards Dumfries, who headed it straight into the net.