More play, better chances and two late goals: The Netherlands made a successful start to the World Cup against Senegal in a game with few highlights.
The Netherlands started the World Cup with a win. The “Oranje” team defeated Senegal 2-0 (0-0) on Monday (November 21, 2021). The late goals of the game were scored by Cody Gakpo with a header (83′) and Davy Klaassen from close range (90’+8′). In Group A, the Netherlands drew level on points and goals with Ecuador, who also beat hosts Qatar 2-0 in the opening game the day before.
Netherlands: Debut in goal – FIFA armband
The game started with a surprise in the Dutch squad: Bonds coach Louis van Gaal put Andries Noppert in goal and gave the 2.03 meter man his international debut at the biggest football tournament in the world. The surprise on captain Virgil van Dijk’s arm, on the other hand, did not materialize: after a threat of punishment from FIFA, the Dutch decided not to wear the captain’s armband with the inscription “one love“. Van Dijk, on the other hand, wore an official FIFA armband with the writing “No Discrimination” (“No Discrimination”).
Hardly any chances for Senegal
To get straight to the point: Noppert had little to do in the early evening at the Al Thumana Stadium in Doha. The 28-year-old from Dutch first division club Heerenveen had to come into action for the first time shortly before the break when he defused a counterattack by the West Africans (45′). When Senegal had the best chance, Noppert blocked a shot from Boulaye Dia at the near corner (65′). A brilliant save after a 16-metre shot by Idrissa Gana Gueye was not included in the statistics due to an offside position (73′).
De Jong misses a great opportunity
At this point in time, the “Elftal” could already have been in the lead. Because the Dutch were able to create the better chances in the game with few highlights. Frenkie de Jong missed the best opportunity of the entire game: After a quick counterattack on the right, the Barca player was alone in front of Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy, but frittered away the ball (19′). Steven Berghuis had more good chances with a 17-metre shot (40′) and Virgil van Dijk with headers (27’/53′).
Little offensive power
Overall, however, the African champions from Senegal and the 1988 European champions from the Netherlands played a wait and see game. Coach van Gaal’s team didn’t allow much with a tight five-man chain at the back and often acted too hectically in the game going forward. Senegal also played wait and see. The agile and creative Ismaila Sarr was rarely able to put herself in the limelight.
De Jong with class submission to the lead
In the final phase, a magic assist from de Jong then decided the game: Gakpo headed his high ball into the top over Mendy who rushed out to make it 1-0 (84′). In the eight-minute stoppage time, Davy Klaassen made it 2-0, and Mendy didn’t look happy here either. The keeper let a shot from Memphis Depay rebound forward, so the ex-Bremer Klaassen was able to dust off easily.