The Netherlands cruised to a 3-1 win over the United States to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FIFA World Cup.
While the US started the game well, they faded off quickly and goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind made sure that the Dutch had a 2-0 led. Haji Wright pulled one back in the second half, but that momentum was lost after Denzel Dumfries found himself free at the back post to seal the deal for the Oranje.
LVG nails his game plan
The gameplan from Louis van Gaal was clear – contain the US and exploit the spaces they leave behind in the full-back areas while using the front two of Depay and Cody Gakpo to occupy the opposition centre-backs. It is no coincidence that both Blind and Dumfries scored, with the Inter man getting two assists. It was the gameplan of a pragmatist from LVG.
Dumfries rises to the occasion
Denzel Dumfries has been criticised for his performances in the group stages but he was exceptional against the US, even though Antonee Robinson constantly gave him too much space to attack in. Dumfries played at his strength as he was constantly involved in the final third.
An acceptable loss for the US?
While losing a game is never acceptable, but the loss for the US came down to technical inferiority. Their technical ceiling meant that they were never going to break down a much superior Dutch backline and midfield block, which would lead to the Netherlands exploiting the spaces they leave behind. Sometimes, it is good to accept that one lost to a better side.