Netherlands and Senegal have now qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup with final day victories against Qatar and Ecuador respectively.
The Dutch made sure it’ll be three losses in three for hosts Qatar as they cruised to a 2-0 victory at the Al Bayt stadium. Qatar began the game brightly but in the 26th minute Cody Gakpo scored the first goal of the game and his third of the tournament so far.
The 23-year-old PSV forward drove through the heart of the Qatar defence, before finding the bottom-right corner of Meshaal Barsham‘s goal. His goal meant he is now the first Dutch player ever to score in all three group games during the same World Cup finals.
Needing just one point to confirm qualification, the Netherlands were in total control. Just four minutes into the second half, the Dutch got their second. A cross from Davy Klaassen made its way to Memphis Depay, the shot from the Barcelona man was blocked but fell to his Barcelona teammate, Frenkie de Jong who bundled it into the net.
A deserved 2-0 win for the Oranje means they now sit and wait to find out who their last-16 opponents will be. A meeting with the runners up of Group B beckons.
In the second game, both Senegal and Ecuador knew their chances of making the last 16 depended on the outcome of this game with the Teranga lions needing 3 points to qualify while a draw would’ve gotten La Tri through.
A first half penalty from Ismaila Sarr gave the African champions the lead after the Watford man was brought down in the box by Piero Hincapié. Ecuador knew they only needed a goal to keep their World Cup dream alive and in the second half, they got the equalizer via a Moises Caicedo goal in the 67th minute.
However, their joy wouldn’t last long as Senegal’s captian, Kalidou Koulibaly put his country back in front just two minutes later when a free-kick found its way to the Chelsea man in the box. His first international goal coming when his country needed it most.
Ecuador pushed for yet another equalizer but to no avail as Senegal reached the last-16 for the first time in 20 years.
A spicy matchup with the winner of Group A awaits the African team when confirmed later today with England in pole position.