The Netherlands have beaten the United States 3 -1 to make it make it to the quarter finals of the FIFA World Cup. The Dutch team was led by three goals from Memphis Depay, Daley Blind and Denzel Dumfries. The US team put up a valiant effort but was ultimately unable to break through the Dutch defense. The Netherlands becomes the first team to make it to the quarter finals of the FIFA 2022 World Cup.
The Netherlands come into the round of 16 looking ordinary in their attack with many wondering how good this team really are and whether they would rise to the occasion against the USA. Hours before the game started Louis van Gaal the Dutch National team coach said his Netherlands squad had been hit with a “worrying” influenza outbreak ahead of the clash.
He even abandoned his typical pregame routine of conducting a full 11-on-11 training match two days before kickoff as has been part of Dutch soccer philosophy of having the starting XI play a game against the reserves two days before match, with the second-stringers trying to replicate the playing style of the opponent in this case the United States team.
To depart from that at this stage of the tournament is striking and it was even suggested by Dutch journalists that at least six players were affected badly enough not to train.
The USA side have been in decent form and it was expected that they would impose their physicality on the Dutch side.
The Netherlands’ defense, however, has been solid with a great organization and discipline at the back. They came into the world cup unbeaten since Louis van Gaal took charge of the national side, and with a strong defensive unit at his disposal, he was looking to be the first ever Dutch coach to finally win the world cup as the Dutch are considered by many as the best team to have never won the FIFA World Cup making it to the finals thrice and falling twice to host teams Argentina and Germany.
Since the games begun however they have been performing just as bad as Wales, Saudi Arabia and Poland averaging just of five shot in the box per game which is awful for a team we considered to be strong favourites to win every game in their group and go far in this competition.
The USA on the other hand have been playing relatively well, dominating possession and playing with intensity in their games. They have also been creating more chances than the Dutch and they looked like the team who were going to take the game to the Dutch and dominate it.
It was going to be a real test of tactical nous and will-power between these two sides as the Dutch looked to take advantage of their strong defence to keep the USA out, while the US side were looking to use their possession and physicality to break the Dutch down. It was going to be interesting to see who would come out on top in this match. The Netherlands, with their strong defensive record, or the USA, with their more attacking intent.
The United State fielded the youngest lineup of the tournament with an average age of 25 years and they seemed to take the initiative in the early stages of the game, controlling possession and setting up a good attacking structure.
They aggressively pressed the Dutch defence trying to break them down with a high intensity style of football, with Christian Pulisic getting an early chance at goal which was blocked by the Dutch keeper. The US kept the pressure up but just 10 minutes in the Dutch got a break through when Memphis Depay scored from close range to take the lead.
From then on the USA struggled to open up the Dutch, their dynamism and energy being stifled by Dutch organisation.
A few seconds before the halftime whistle Dumfries pulled the ball back to the penalty spot and Daley Blind put it passed the US keeper to put the Dutch two goals up.
The second half saw both teams trading blows but it was the USA who looked more dangerous with three shots on target, and even a big chance missed by the 60th minute.
This paid off in the 76th minute when Pulisic pulled the ball back and Wright almost unbelievably flicked it in, over the despairing dive from the Dutch keeper giving the US a glimmer of hope in the face of an impending defeat.
The Dutch however scored a third in the 81st minute when Blind swung over a cross to find Dumfries completely free at the far post putting past Matt Turner the US goal keeper.
The Dutch held on until the very end, as the USA finished the game with a flurry of late chances that failed to find their mark.