By Armstrong Vaz
Doha (Qatar), Dec 4 (IANS): Denzel Dumfries did the star act for The Netherlands as he provided two assists and scored a goal against the United States to seal a 3-1 win and a place in the FIFA World Cup quarterfinals for his team
On Saturday at the Khalifa International Stadium, the Dutch opened the scoring in the 10th minute as Memphis Depay received the ball from Dumfries and finished off a combined move in which several players had a hand and which started from the defense.
The U.S. had a bright start to the game but have since been outsmarted by their opponents. They enjoyed more than 60 percent of the ball possession in the first half against a stronger side. However, they failed to make effective use of that possession and were punished for losing the ball too easily.
The U.S. had a bright start to the game but were outsmarted by their opponent and when the U.S. looked close to finding an equaliser, Daley Blind netted Dumfries' low cross to extend the lead for the European side.
The Netherlands thus took a comfortable 2-0 lead at the break.
Overall, the USA have had good spells throughout the tournament, especially for portions of their game in the group match against England. But their big weakness has been the inability to make the most of their opportunities. Most of the time they could not find the goals they needed and it was very much evident on Saturday.
Defensive errors and lack of cutting edge in the final third cost the U.S. and they needed a different performance in the second half to get back into the game. But that was not to be.
Cody Gakpo cleared Tim Ream's header off the line early in the second half to keep the Netherlands' advantage safe but saw his team waste chances to put the game to bed.
As the U.S. kept pressing for some late drama, Haji Wright missed from a tight angle in the 75th, but pulled one back for the U.S. just a minute later, sending home a cross from Christian Pulisic with a stunning looping ball into the far corner.
Their comeback, however, didn't last long as Dumfries got on the scoreboard himself in the 81st minute to wrap up matters.
In the quarterfinals, the Netherlands will meet the winner of the clash between Argentina and Australia, who meet later on Saturday.