Late goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen gave the Netherlands victory over Senegal in their opening Group A match at the 2022 World Cup.
Gakpo made a brilliant run to head home a powerful cross from Frenkie de Jong, before Klaassen slotted home to seal the win in injury time.
The Dutch are now unbeaten in 16 games under manager Louis van Gaal. They also extended the record of unbeaten in their opening match at World Cups since 1938.
How the Dutch defeated Senegal
Gakpo, who have scored three goals in their last four games, had the first chance after four minutes but tried to throw the ball to Steven Bergwijn instead.
That was followed by Daley Blind’s header at the far post which flew wide before Steven Berghuis dispatched Bergwijn and slotted it past an unmarked De Jong in the box.
The midfielder took a long time to clear the ball, however, his effort was blocked.
The African side were missing the injured Sadio Mane and were unable to fire until the 65th minute when Boulaye Dia tried to slip one past goal scorer Andries Noppert, keeping the Dutch side strong.
Senegal had more of the possession in the second half, but even their young team could not find the back of the net.
To make matters worse, Cheikhou Kouyate had to be taken off injured before Gakpo stepped in to grab the early lead.
Klaassen made sure of the three points by subbing in stoppage time after Mendy shot Memphis Depay into his path.
De Jong had a chance to give the Dutch the lead in the first half, but he was stuffed by Ismaila Sarr at the other end when he shot wide of Virgil van Dijk’s goal.
Dutch defenders on display again at World Cup – Opta Stats
- The Netherlands have kept four consecutive clean sheets at the World Cup for the first time, becoming the first country to do so since Spain in 2010.
- Senegal have lost back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time, not having kept a clean sheet in the competition since they played against France in 2002.
- At 71 years and 105 days, Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal became the third manager to preside over a game at the World Cup, after Otto Rehhagel (71y 317d) and Óscar Tabárez (71y 125d).
- Cody Gakpo’s debut came after 84 minutes for the Netherlands when he shot against Senegal, while Davy Klaassen’s strike was their latest World Cup goal (98:17).
- Cody Gakpo has been involved in four goals in his last four games for the Netherlands in all competitions (3 goals, 1 assist), twice as many as he has in his first six games for the national team (1 goal, 1 assist). .
- The average age of Senegal’s starting XI was 28 years and 284 days, the oldest in their nine World Cup appearances, and two years older than their previous best (26y 224d against Colombia in 2018).
- Virgil van Dijk made 50 appearances for the Netherlands in all competitions, but his first in a major competition. Only goalkeeper Gejus van der Meulen has more caps for Oranje before a World Cup or European Championship (54, in 1934) than Van Dijk.
What does the latter mean?
Ecuador and the Netherlands are now joint leaders in Group A after both registered 2-0 wins in their opening matches.
The Netherlands face Ecuador in their second match on Friday, November 25, at 4pm, while Senegal play Qatar earlier in the day at 1pm.
The winners of Group A will face the runners-up in Group B, which includes England, Wales, the USA and Iran. The runner-up in Group A will face the winners in Group B.