A clinical Netherlands put an end to the United States’ World Cup dream on Saturday, reaching the quarter-finals with a brutal 3-1 victory. Goals in the first half from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind and a late goal from Denzel Dumfries ensured a deserved victory, as the Dutch gave their American opponents a painful lesson in finishing. The Netherlands, which hopes to win the World Cup for the first time after losing in three previous finals, will play against Argentina or Australia in the last eight. The men of veteran coach Louis van Gaal were worthy victors in Saturday’s round of 16 at the Khalifa International Stadium.
While the US had long spells of possession in a bright first half, a lack of composure in the final third all too often let them down.
Instead, it was the Dutch who calmly bided their time before cutting the Americans open with forensic precision.
American forward Christian Pulisic squandered a golden opportunity to put his team 1-0 up after just three minutes when he found himself in space and saw a kicked shot saved by Andries Noppert.
Buoyed by that early opportunity, the US stayed on the front foot and attacked high up the field.
But after 10 minutes the Netherlands took the lead. Superb interplay in midfield saw the ball work to Inter Milan’s Dumfries on the right.
Dumfries singled out Depay, who swept home and completed a majestic 20-pass move that was in the finest traditions of the Netherlands’ total football heritage.
Once again, the Americans pushed purposefully into Dutch territory through Pulisic, only for the Chelsea player to deliver a cross that fell behind his American teammates.
Tim Weah had the best American chance of the remainder of the half after 43 minutes and fired with a raspy shot that Noppert parried away.
But in the injury time of the first half, the Netherlands delivered the hammer blow.
Dumfries again found space on the right and drilled a cross to Blind, who had been chasing Sergino Dest, for an emphatic low finish.
The Netherlands nearly extended their lead early in the second half when Dumfries’ low cross was pushed towards the American goal by defender Walker Zimmerman, forcing a clever save from Matt Turner.
USA coach Gregg Berhalter introduced Gio Reyna to the ineffective Jesus Ferreira on offense at halftime in an attempt to give a sharper lead.
The Borussia Dortmund player made an immediate impact after setting up a shot at Weston McKennie that sailed over the crossbar.
Midway through the second half, Berhalter brought in Haji Wright in place of McKennie and that move sparked a fleeting resurgence.
After seeing a scoring opportunity cleared at the near post in the 75th minute, Wright scored a minute later when his shot from Pulisic’s cross went over Noppert into the Dutch net for 2–1.
Still, the American fight back was short-lived. In the 81st minute, another Dutch strike pulled the US defense out of position, and Blind calmly crossed to an unmarked Dumfries at the near post, who made it 3–1.
(This story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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