Denzel Dumfries had a standout performance as the Netherlands defeated the USA 3-1 in their last-16 match to get to the World Cup quarterfinals.
The Netherlands took the lead in the first half thanks to goals from Memphis Depay (10) and Daley Blind (45+1), both of which were swept home similarly from Dumfries crosses. However, the USA forced both the Inter Milan defender and Cody Gakpo to clear off the line before Haji Wright produced an “impossible” goal in the 76th minute to set up a thrilling finish. Dumfries, a standout performance, put an end to their aspirations of a stunning comeback, volleying in Blind’s cross to seal the victory in the 83rd minute.
Netherlands defeated USA 3-1
Christian Pulisic’s clearance to play had given the USA hope, but just three minutes in, the Chelsea forward blew a golden opportunity by shooting at Andries Noppert from in a clear-cut position. After that, the Netherlands absorbed pressure well throughout the first half and frequently threatened to attack on the break. This was an effective tactical move by Dutch manager Louis van Gaal, whose only loss in his first 11 World Cup matches as manager came against Argentina in 2014 on penalties.
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After the break, USA started the game, but they were on the losing end of the turmoil. Their young team will need to apply the lessons learned from Qatar to the 2026 World Cup, which they will co-host. The Netherlands, who have advanced to the round of eight for the fifth time in their last six World Cups, will now focus on playing Argentina on Friday, December 9 at 7 p.m. at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. The Netherlands withdrew as soon as the game began, giving the USA possession.
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The initial goal demonstrated the menace of Van Gaal’s team when they race up the pitch in control, despite the fact that it nearly backfired when Pulisic was sent in and should have converted a one-on-one in the early stages of the game. The Dutch took the lead against the early flow of play thanks to a precise cutback from Dumfries for Depay that was executed with efficiency. The Netherlands invited the USA to attack for the remainder of the half, but as their opponents struggled to get passes through the lines, it was the team in orange that posed the greatest threat. Blind missed a shot and Depay fired across the goal at the end of quick counterattacks, exposing the defense’s lack of speed.
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As USA started to get some momentum near the end of the half, Noppert made a good stop on a Yunus Musah shot, but the underdogs were dealt a devastating blow on the stroke of halftime when Blind converted a carbon copy finish of Depay’s opening from another Dumfries’ centre. In an effort to tie the game again, the USA exploded into the scene in the second half. As they threw bodies forward, substitute Giovanni Reyna saw a shot cleared off the line by Gakpo, Pulisic hit the post, and Weston McKennie missed the target. However, at the other end, the game opened up and Matt Turner was forced into a sharp stop at his near post following an errant clearance from Walker Zimmerman.
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After a brilliant double save from the USA goalkeeper to stop Blind’s shot from the edge of the box and then deflect away Depay’s follow-up, there was soon desperate defending at the other end when Dumfries scrambled away Wright’s goal-bound shot after Steven Bergwijn’s terrible back pass was intercepted. But just two minutes later, Wright scored, snatching the ball off Noppert after a low cross from Pulisic. Paul Merson of Sky Sports said on Soccer Saturday, “I don’t know how he does that.” “It strikes the heel of his foot and loops repeatedly into the net’s back. It’s not feasible! Even if he tried, he couldn’t accomplish it!
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Depay and Pulisic saw opportunities come and go as the suspenseful climax heated up, but Dumfries put an end to USA’s dreams of a stunning comeback when he tucked Blind’s cross away. He merited to finish off the victory that advances the Netherlands to the next round because he was a part of so many significant moments in the game.