A clinical Dutchman ended the United States’ World Cup dream on Saturday, advancing to the quarterfinals with a ruthless 3-1 win.
First-half goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind and a late Denzel Dumfries strike sealed a well-deserved victory as the Dutch taught their American opponent a painful lesson in finishing.
The Netherlands, trying to win their first World Cup after losing their previous three finals, will face Argentina or Australia in the last eight.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal said: “We always want to improve and since the start of the tournament it has been getting better and better with each game.
“I was very important in the first half. We were 2-0 up… However, we lost in the first half, we were always in possession and that’s unacceptable in a World Cup.
“If you’re playing like that against the top countries, you’re not going to make it.”
Van Gaal’s men were worthy winners of Saturday’s round of 16 clash at Khalifa International Stadium.
Although the United States had long possession in a brilliant first-half performance, the occasional lack of composure in the final third let them down.
Instead, the Dutch calmly waited their moment before beating the Americans with forensic precision.
“When you look at the differences between the two teams, there are some attacking qualities that the Netherlands have that we lack,” said USA coach Gregg Berhalter.
“We don’t have a Memphis Depay currently scoring in the Champions League, playing for Barcelona, with scoring experience at this level.”
American forward Christian Pulisic squandered a golden opportunity to give his team a 1-0 lead after just three minutes, as he was in the open only to witness a shot missed by the keeper. Dutchman Andries Noppert makes a save.
Excited by that early opportunity, the United States was still in the first attack, raising the bar.
But after 10 minutes, the Netherlands took the lead. Great coordination in midfield allowed the ball to reach Inter Milan’s Dumfries on the right.
Dumfries chose Depay, who successfully finished off to execute a monumental 20-pass move, which is the best tradition in the overall Dutch football heritage.
Once again, the Americans purposefully entered Dutch territory through Pulisic, only for the Chelsea player to deliver a cross that left his American teammate behind.
Tim Weah had America’s best chance for the rest of the game in the 43rd minute, hitting a long shot that Noppert saved.
But in the injury time of the first half, the Netherlands hit a dangerous blow.
Dumfries once again found space on the right and passed a cross to Blind, who edged past Sergino Dest, for a clear sink finish.
The Netherlands nearly extended the lead early in the second half when Dumfries’ low cross was sent by defender Walker Zimmerman toward the United States goal, forcing Matt Turner to make a smart save.
Berhalter brought in Gio Reyna for the less effective Jesus Ferreira in the first half attack in an attempt to deliver a sharper cut.
The Borussia Dortmund man made an immediate impression after firing a shot for Weston McKennie, but the ball went over the bar.
Berhalter brought in Haji Wright for McKennie midway through the second half and the move sparked a fleeting resurgence.
After witnessing a scoring opportunity cleared by Dumfries in the near corner in the 75th minute, Wright scored a minute later when his puck from Pulisic’s cross overtook Noppert into the Dutch net with a scoreline. number 2-1.
However, the American counterattack was short-lived. In the 81st minute, another Dutch attack pulled the US defense out of position, and Blind calmly passed a cross to Dumfries in the far corner, who made it 3-1.
Berhalter said: “Tonight we were flawed. “We talked about the game about moments and the first half was a great sign for that.
“And two moments came and suddenly we were 2-0 down…It was a tough game to swallow for us.”
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