Denzel Dumfries assisted on the first two goals and scored the game-winning goal as the Netherlands beat the United States 3-1 on Saturday at the Khalifa International Stadium to advance to the World Cup quarterfinals and advance the Netherlands to their first World Cup quarterfinal since 2002.
With a 2-0 disadvantage at halftime, Dumfries dashed any chances the Americans had of mounting a comeback, but they battled back with a goal from Haji Wright in the 76th minute to cut the margin to 3-2.
After Dumfries’ right-wing cross found Depay in the 10th minute and Blind in the final seconds of the first half, the Dutch appeared to be in complete control of their opening Round of 16 match in front of 44,846 spectators.
Wright scored an equalizer, however, giving the Americans more hope.
Only five minutes later, in the 81st minute, Dumfries scored the game-winning goal by neatly finishing Blind’s left-wing cross.
Despite making their seventh quarterfinal appearance since 1974, the Netherlands’ performance in the World Cup in Qatar did not satisfy their critics.
Sometimes they played too cautiously, too slowly, and too riskily, giving the Americans a lot of possession.
Still, they seemed a cut above their rivals.
The second-half clearances by Cody Gakpo and Dumfries, together with many saves by goalkeeper Andries Noppert, helped the Netherlands earn their 19th win in a row since Louis van Gaal returned as coach last year.
Christian Pulisic had a golden opportunity to give the United States an early lead when he found himself unmarked and onside with just the goalie to beat. However, the tallest man at the World Cup, Dutch goalkeeper Gerard Noppert, put out his right leg to deny a shock opener.
The Dutch government responded rapidly. After 20 quick passes, Dumfries squared the ball from the right and pulled it back into the path of Depay, who waited until he was inside the American penalty area before he smashed home the first goal.
After such an exciting beginning, the game slowed down considerably as the Dutch sat back in defense to wait for counterattack opportunities.
There was a terrific chance for the Americans, but Noppert made another great stop from a driving shot by Timothy Weah, and Sergio Dest broke past the defense but missed a great chance because he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet.
Those wasted opportunities were promptly punished when Dutch broke again down the right and produced a carbon duplicate of the previous goal when Dumfries pulled back his cross for 32-year-old left defender Daley Blind to score in his 98th international.
Depay burst away after the break and looked odds-on to present substitute Steven Bergwijn with the chance to make it 3-0 but played in a poor pass, followed by an American attack up the other end when Gakpo saved Tim Ream from close range.
While Dumfries was in the right spot to prevent the goal, Pulisic’s pass hit Wright on the heel and rolled into the net, giving the Americans a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.
But in the end Dumfries proved vital for the Dutch to move on to their next battle against either Argentina or Australia in the last eight next Friday.