Denzel Dumfries starred as the Netherlands beat the United States (US) by 3-1 in the round of 16 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the Khalifa International Stadium, Doha on Saturday.
Star forward Memphis Depay set the tone for the Netherlands as he scored the opener in the 10th minute, becoming the outright second all-time goal scorer for the Oranje.
Daley Blind extended the Netherlands' lead to two goals in the 46th minute and went to the sidelines to celebrate with his father, Danny Blind.
The United States responded with a sensational goal in the 77th minute. Substitute Haji Wright scored with a cheeky backheel via Christian Pulisic's cross.
Dumfries, who assisted the two goals, gave the European side a breath of fresh air in the 81st minute with a left-footed goal, helping his side regain the two-goal lead.
The United States fought hard till the last minute but the Netherlands' defense was too solid to break.
Although the USA had plenty of possession in a strong first-half performance, they frequently faltered in the final third as the forwards couldn't convert on various opportunities.
After just three minutes, Pulisic missed a golden opportunity to give his team a 1-0 lead when he found himself in space, but goalkeeper Andries Noppert denied the Chelsea forward.
Boss Gregg Berhalter lauded his team's effort and said he is proud of them.
"This is difficult to handle, we came up short but not for a lack of trying and effort. They poured everything they had into this game. Unfortunately, we lost," he said after the game.
"I’m really proud, when you think of this group and how they came together, it is special to see. You don't often get a bond like that. I’m really proud of this group but bitterly disappointed with the result."
Meanwhile, the Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who is on his final adventure with the national side, will be delighted with the performance of his side.
After the win, Van Gaal is now unbeaten as Netherlands manager since returning in 2021, replacing Ronald Koeman.
It should be mentioned here that, besides shootouts, he has never lost a FIFA World Cup game.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalists will be taking on the winners of the pre-quarter-final between Argentina and Australia in the quarter-final of the mega event.