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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

USA out, Oranje through to the quarter finals

At the Khalifa International Stadium, the Netherlands easily defeated the United States of America 3-1 to advance as the first team to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup (FWC), extending their remarkable unbeaten streak to 19 games.

In the first-ever competitive head-to-head match between the two countries, the USA had the upper hand as Christian Pulisic saw an early shot blocked by Andries Noppert's extended leg. Despite their promising start, the Dutch startled the Americans in the 10th minute with a stunning move that ended with Memphis Depay expertly sweeping Denzel Dumfries' pull-back into the bottom corner to give the Oranje the lead.

The USA knew it was crucial to respond well after giving up the first goal in the FWC (D5, L18), but the Netherlands appeared to be the more dangerous of the two teams as Daley Blind and Depay both missed decent opportunities. When another precise Dumfries delivery was calmly tapped in by Blind to double the Netherlands' lead at the stroke of HT, the Dutch pressure had finally paid off.

USA emerged after the restart eager to gain a foothold in the contest, but Pulisic saw a strike comfortably held by Noppert and Weston McKennie blazed a long-range effort wastefully over the bar. With a two-goal deficit to overturn, the Stars and Stripes continued to commit plenty of numbers forward, and were rewarded in the 76th minute, as Haji Wright clipped a fortuitous finish over Noppert and awkwardly into the net to set up a tantalising final 15 minutes.

Unhindered by the USA's reaction, the Dutch swiftly regained a two-goal advantage, with the important Dumfries volleying in Blind's cross to calm the agitated Oranje fans. Despite the best efforts of a determined USA attack as the game entered its closing five minutes, the Netherlands rearguard held firm, securing their spot in the quarterfinals, where they will play Argentina, the two-time champions.

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