Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen scored late goals in Netherlands’ 2022 World Cup opener against Senegal.
Netherlands were strong but wasteful in the first half at Al Thumama Stadium and lacked danger until Gakpo scored on 85 minutes. Klassen’s late goal gave Louis van Gaal’s team a good start to the season.
Netherlands played their first World Cup match since 2014, after failing to qualify for Russia 2018.
Senegal, winner of last year’s Africa Cup of Nations, travelled to Qatar with high expectations, but Sadio Mane’s leg injury derailed their hopes.
Netherlands controlled the first half but struggled to score. On six minutes, Gakpo passed to Steven Bergwijn, whose shot was blocked.
Frenkie de Jong had an opportunity on 18 minutes but waited too long to shoot and the motion broke down.
Senegal’s offence was lacklustre, missing Mane’s menace.
Senegal had two late chances as Andries Noppert, making his international debut, saved from Idrissa Gueye and Ismaila Sarr.
Netherlands got clinical late. Gakpo put Netherlands ahead following De Jong’s deep cross.
Memphis Depay’s shot caused Mendy to deflect to Klaassen, who tapped in. Referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio signalled eight minutes of additional time.
Netherlands and Ecuador share Group A’s top place after Ecuador’s 2-0 victory against Qatar on Sunday.
FIFA threatened a yellow penalty for any player found wearing the anti-discrimination OneLove armband, thus Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk did not wear it.
Van Gaal refused to address political questions after the match. Football discourse, not politics, now. Yellow cards mean no armbands. You may respond whether this is a proper action by FIFA. Virgil van Dijk will be yellow-carded after one match. We want to win the World Cup, therefore we’re not wearing an armband. We must all question whether FIFA’s move is appropriate — that’s apparent.
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