Denzel Dumfries starred as the Netherlands saw off a spirited second half from USA to win their last-16 tie 3-1 and book their place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
First-half goals from Memphis Depay (10) and Daley Blind (45+1), swept home in similar fashion from Dumfries crosses, put the Dutch in control but USA forced both the Inter Milan defender and Cody Gakpo to clear off the line before Haji Wright produced an “impossible” 76th-minute finish to set up a big finale.
Standout performer Dumfries ended their hopes of a dramatic turnaround, though, volleying in Blind’s cross in the 83rd minute to secure the victory.
USA had been boosted by Christian Pulisic being passed fit to play but the Chelsea forward wasted a glorious opening just three minutes in, shooting at Andries Noppert when clean through.
From then on, the Netherlands soaked up pressure well through the first half and repeatedly threatened on the counter-attack – an effective tactical ploy from Dutch boss Louis van Gaal, whose sole defeat in his 11 World Cup matches in charge to date came on penalties against Argentina in 2014.
USA opened the game up after the break but came out on the wrong end of the chaos. Their youthful side will have to take their learnings from Qatar into the 2026 World Cup, when they will be joint-hosts.
As for the Netherlands – into the last eight for the fifth time in their last six World Cups – they will now turn their attentions to facing the winner of Argentina vs Australia at the Lusail Iconic Stadium at 7pm on Friday December 9.
From the very first whistle, the Netherlands backed off and allowed USA to have possession. It almost backfired when Pulisic was played in and should have converted a one-on-one in the early moments of the match, but the opening goal showed the threat of Van Gaal’s side when they accelerate up the pitch in possession.
Dumfries’ precision cutback for Depay was clinically converted at the end of an excellent team move of 20 passes to put the Dutch ahead against the early run of play.