A challenge with little emotion is decided by the header of the PSV talent and the Ajax midfielder. Locked Ecuador at the top of group A
The Netherlands, without shining, beat Senegal 2-0 on their debut in the 2022 World Cup and hook Ecuador at the top of group A. Van Gaal has PSV’s young talent to thank Gakpo who, with a header in the 84th minute following an assist from De Jong, anticipates Mendy’s exit and gives the Orange three golden points. In the 99th minute Klaassen doubled his lead after a shot by Depay which was badly rejected by the Chelsea goalkeeper. For the rest there were very few emotions, with De Jong devouring the 1-0 in the 19th minute, while in the second half Noppert said no twice to Dia and Pape Gueye.
Holland plays rather badly, showing defensive (see De Ligt) and offensive gaps, but in the end they win in the final against an orderly Senegal but nothing more. The cover man is Cody Gakpo, the new jewel of Dutch football, the man of the match even without the vital goal scored in the 84th minute. Behind the blackboard, however, an unrecognizable Mendy: the Chelsea goalkeeper, who lost ownership with Potter’s arrival on the bench, practically gave the two goals to the Orange team, first with an out of time exit and then with a awkwardly pushed back on Klaassen’s feet. Van Gaal, apart from the result, however, has no other reason to smile: his team was for long stretches without ideas and harmless in attack. For Senegal a bad debut and the feeling that they will play the next round against Ecuador. However, more concreteness is needed in attack.
Senegal must compete in the World Cup without its brightest star, Sadio Mané, and for the debut coach Cissé must also do without the Milan player Ballo Touré: in his place Diallo, while the trident is led by the Salernitana striker Dia, with Diatta and Ismaila Sarr on either side. The Netherlands cannot count on Depay: Van Gaal’s choice falls on Janssen, while Noppert is in goal, a year and a half on the bench at Foggia (from January 2018 to 30 June 2019) and making his absolute debut with the Oranges. In defense De Ligt and Van Dijk. Only bench for Inter De Vrij and Atalantini De Roon and Koopmeiners. It’s not a first half that will go down in history at the Al Thumana Stadium in Doha, with the best chances that happen to the Dutch but the Senegalese don’t stand by and create headaches by taking advantage of a certain superficiality of the opposing defenders. Like in the 1st minute, when De Ligt loses the ball badly and De Jong is providential deviating Dia’s shot. First half with some worries and too many fouls for the ex Juve centre-back, weak link in the rearguard. Orange’s response was not long in coming: in the 4th minute Gakpo put in the middle, Bergwijn in a split didn’t get there by a whisker with the goal unguarded. The rhythms are rather staid and Holland manages to become dangerous only when he changes pace. The clearest opportunity in the 19th minute: Berghuis serves the onrushing De Jong, the Barcelona midfielder face to face with Mendy tries a couple of dribbles and Diallo foils the threat. The Africans scare Noppert in the 25th minute: Sarr’s right-footed shot seems destined for the corner, but Van Dijk puts his head in and saves. The first fraction ends with a left foot shot on the edge of Berghuis just above (40′). Few emotions and many (too many) technical errors.
The second half started without changes by the two technical commissioners, with Senegal a little more courageous and a Netherlands that is really struggling to trigger forwards and build dangerous actions. In particular De Jong is unrecognizable, with really easy errors in support. So the first noteworthy occasion was for the Senegalese, but Noppert was attentive to Dia’s shot and saved himself for a corner (65′). The rookie goalkeeper is still good on Guaye’s central strike in the 73rd minute, but the referee stops the action due to Diatta’s offside at the moment of conclusion (73′). Meanwhile Van Gaal is playing the cards Depay, Klaassen and Koopmeiners. And when the challenge seems destined for a melancholic 0-0, here is the champion’s play: De Jong does the only right thing in his troubled match, dishing a delicious ball on Gakpo’s head, PSV’s talent anticipates Mendy’s unfortunate exit and unlock the match (84′). Senegal, which in the meantime had lost Diallo and Kouyate due to injury, rushes forward but has none left. Thus on the counterattack the Depay-Klaassen pair packs the 2-0: Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy makes a bad clearance on the Barcelona forward and for the Ajax midfielder it is child’s play to deposit on the net.
Senegal (4-3-3): E. Mendy 4; Sabaly 6, Koulibaly 6.5, P. Cissé 6, Diallo 5.5 (17′ st Jakobs 5.5); I. Gueye 6, Kouyate 6.5 (29′ st Pape Gueye 6), N. Mendy 5; Diatta 5 (29′ st Jackson 5), Dia 6 (24′ st Bamba Dieng 5), I. Sarr 6.5. Available: Seny, Gomis, Formose, Loum, Moussa Ndiaye, Pathe Ciss, Name, PM Sarr, Famara, Iliman. all.: Cisse 5.5
Netherlands (3-4-1-2): Noppert 7; De Ligt 5, Van Dijk 6.5, Aké 6; Dumfries 5.5, Berghuis 5.5 (34′ st Koopmeiners 6), F. De Jong 5.5, Blind 5.5; Gakpo 7 (49′ st De Roon sv); Janssen 5 (17′ st Depay 6), Bergwijn 5.5 (34′ st Klaassen 6.5). Available: Pasveer, Bijlow, Timber, De Vrij, L. De Jong, Lang, Malacia, Weghorst, Taylor, Simons, Frimpong. all.: Van Gaal 6
Referee: Sampaio (Brazil)
Markers: 39′ st Gakpo (W), 54′ st Klaassen (W)
Ammonite yourself: De Ligt (O), N. Mendy (L), I. Gueye (L)
– For the first time the Netherlands have kept four consecutive clean sheets at the World Cup; moreover, it is the first nation to do so since Spain in 2010.
– Senegal have lost back-to-back matches for the first time at the World Cup and have not kept a clean sheet in any of their previous eight matches in the tournament.
– This is the game in which Senegal has had the most shots without scoring at the World Cup (15 shots).
– Cody Gakpo’s 84th-minute goal came with the Netherlands’ first shot on target against Senegal.
– Cody Gakpo (23 years, 198 days) is the youngest goalscorer for the Netherlands at the World Cup since Memphis Depay on 23 June 2014 against Chile (20 years, 130 days).
– Davy Klaassen’s goal after 98 minutes and 17 seconds is the latest scored by the Netherlands at the World Cup.
– Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal (71 years 105 days) became the third oldest coach in a World Cup match, after Otto Rehhagel (71 years 317 days) and Óscar Tabárez (71 years 125 days).
– Senegal fielded their starting eleven with the highest average age at a World Cup: 28 years and 284 days, surpassing their previous record by more than two years (26 years and 224 days against Colombia in 2018).
– Virgil van Dijk made his 50th appearance for the Netherlands in all competitions, but only his first in a major tournament. Only goalkeeper Gejus van der Meulen played more games for Oranje than Van Dijk before appearing at the World Cup or European Championship (54, in 1934).
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World Cup 2022: Senegal-Holland 0-2, sharp points from Gakpo and Klaassen in the final
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