The Netherlands was the first team to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup on Saturday with an entertaining 3-1 victory over the USA.
Memphis Depay rounded off a great move to open the scoring in the 10th minute and Daley Blind made it two just before half-time at the Khalifa International Stadium.
The USA threatened a comeback when Haji Wright pulled one back in the 76th minute, but Denzel Dumfries made sure it was the Orange that progressed to the last eight with their third five minutes later.
Louis Van Gaal named an unchanged team from the one that defeated Qatar in their last group stage match, while Walker Zimmerman and Jesus Ferreira came to the US.
Gregg Berhalter’s team got off to an excellent start and had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the third minute when Tyler Adams shot the ball over the top for Christian Pulisic, but Andries Noppert made an excellent save.
All offensive intentions came from the US, but the Netherlands scored from their first real attack.
One of the best moves of the tournament saw the Dutch force their way through their opponents in clinical fashion before Dumfries cut the ball back perfectly from the right for the onrushing Depay, who swept it into the bottom corner.
The Dutch were criticized at home for playing dull football and for the next half hour, save for one shot from Blind well over the crossbar, they were content to simply keep their opponents at bay.
The USA finally put Noppert to the test again in the 43rd minute with a sharp shot from Timothy Weah from 22 yards out, but the Netherlands doubled their lead heading into stoppage time.
In a near-copy of the first goal, Dumfries again played the ball low from the right and this time it was Blind who stroked his shot into the net before celebrating with his father Danny, who is part of the Netherlands coaching staff.
Both managers switched at halftime, with Steven Bergwijn and Teun Koopmeiners replacing the Dutch and Giovanni Reyna replacing the USA.
Berhalter’s side needed a quick reaction and they almost got it when Tim Ream threatened from a corner, but the defender couldn’t get enough of the ball and Cody Gakpo cleared it from in front of the line.
On the other hand, Matt Turner had to be alert to prevent Zimmerman from scoring an own goal after toeing in on another Dumfries cross before pushing Depay’s dipping attempt over the crossbar.
The USA lived dangerously as they worked their way back into the match, and Turner made a fine double save in the 71st minute, parrying Koopmeiners’ shot, then getting up to keep Depay’s header out.
That seemed even more important five minutes later when the US did get their goal.
Wright had come close moments earlier when he grabbed a bad pass from Bergwijn and went around Noppert, but his touch pushed him too far and Dumfries was able to clear.
Pulisic was the architect of the goal with a ball from the right that Wright somehow heeled over Noppert and into the far corner.
The keeper then flew out to clear as Wright looked to break through again, but the USA’s hopes ended nine minutes from time as the Dutchman drove off and Dumfries grabbed the goal his performance deserved.
Updated: December 03, 2022, 5:27 PM