Netherlands vs USA

The Netherlands defeated the USA 3-1 in the first game of the round of 16 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The result make the Oranje the first team to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The Dutch qualified as the winners of Group A, earning seven points from three games. They were one of just five teams to remain unbeaten in the group stage. They arrived for this game with confidence as Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaasen were in good form.

The USA, on the other hand, finished as runners-up in Group B and were unbeaten as well. They earned five points and kept two clean sheets as they looked to cause an upset. Goalkeeper Matt Turner and forward Timothy Weah have been in good form for the Americans.

The Netherlands were off to a flyer as Memphis Depay scored just 10 minutes into the game. After looking like a shell of himself in the group stages, the FC Barcelona man finally got on the scoresheet. Denzel Dumfries provided the assist for the goal. Both the Dutch and the USA shared possession in the early stages.

Despite keeping 63% of the ball in the first period, the USA were unable to find a way past Andries Noppert, who made two saves. The Netherlands were handed a boost just before the break as they doubled their lead. Dumfries grabbed his second assist of the night as he teed up Daley Blind for his second-ever World Cup goal.

The Netherlands carried a two-goal lead over the USA going into half-time.

Both teams made alterations at the interval as they looked to tweak their respective approaches to the game. The USA pressed forward and tried to create as many chances as they could. Their forwards started making more direct runs, looking to carve out an opening. Haji Wright scored a freak goal after 76 minutes to bring them back into the game as Christian Pulisic provided the assist.

However, the Netherlands scored to make it 3-1 within five minutes of having their lead cut short. Dumfries was completely unmarked at the far post in a shocking scenario, allowing him to tap-in Blind’s cross with ease. All of the USA’s defenders squeezed too narrow, resulting in one player being left wide open.

Oranje held on to secure their passage to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over the USA. On that note, let’s take a look at the five hits and flops from the game.

#5. Hit – Memphis Depay

After remaining quiet for the entirety of the group stages having failed to score, Depay scored an all-important goal early in the game to ease the pressure off the Netherlands. He held his run and arrived at the perfect moment on the edge of the box to shoot the ball in stride. His shot was accurate and went straight into the bottom-right corner.

Denzel Dumfries played a vital role in the goal, as he has done several times over the last few years, exploiting wide spaces on the counter-attack. He provided an assist for Depay to score from.

#4. Flop – Sergino Dest

Sergino Dest was one of the highest-rated fullbacks in world football a couple of years back. However, due to injuries and an inability to put together a string of consistent performances, he has seen his stock drop tremendously. He had another poor game and was subbed off in the second half.

Dest won just two of his 10 duels and was dispossessed 14 times. He also attempted two shots but failed to hit the target, creating just 0.07 xG.

#3. Hit – Daley Blind

Daley Blind had an astonishing first half for the Netherlands, doubling their lead on the cusp of the interval after having a great 45 minutes. He was combative in his duels and lost just one of all contested. He also played two long balls.

Blind then helped Oranje add icing to their cake with an inch-perfect cross to assist Denzel Dumfries to make it 3-1 after 81 minutes.

#2. Hit – Matt Turner

Turner kept two clean sheets in the group stages for USA and came into this game full of confidence. He was unlucky to concede two goals in the first period as the Netherlands scored with two perfectly-placed shots. However, he almost single-handedly led his team’s fightback in the second half, even making a sharp double save to deny Oranje.

#1. Hit – Denzel Dumfries

Denzel Dumfries has been a menace on the right flank for both Inter Milan and the Netherlands over the past couple of years. He has a knack of making lovely runs into the wide channel, prompting midfielders to play him into open space. He has racked up several assists by laying the ball off to central areas as a result of his well-timed runs.

Dumfries provided two assists in the first half as Oranje carried a comfortable 2-0 lead going into the break. He also scored a crucial goal in the 81st minute to make it 3-1, sealing the victory for his team. Dumfries was unmarked and wide open at the far post, allowing him to pick his spot with a left-footed volley.

He put in a performance for the ages, embodying the true spirit of Dutch football as he was the team’s main offensive threat despite being a wing-back.

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