Netherlands vs. Qatar 2-0. Here are the player ratings, with Gakpo and De Jong in the first place.

Netherlands vs. Qatar 2-0. Here are the player ratings

Netherlands vs. Qatar: The Netherlands defeated Qatar 2-0, with goals from Cody Gakpo and Frenkie de Jong ensuring the Dutch took first place in Group A.

The Netherlands headed into their last World Cup Group A match needing just a point to advance to the knockout rounds. Qatar, however, had already abandoned the tournament after two games, the first time a host country had done so in the championship’s 92-year existence.

The Arab country was playing for little more than pride in front of a half-empty Al Bayt Stadium. And, at least in the early going, Felix Sanchez’s squad stood strong. They were devoted to the task and disciplined in their off-the-ball structure, but it only took 26 minutes for the Dutch to show their superior talent.

As has been the case in front of goal for the Netherlands thus far, it was all Cody Gakpo, who will almost certainly leave PSV before the end of the January transfer window. The 23-year-old took a pass into his feet and intelligently flicked it around the corner to Davy Klaassen before collecting the return layoff. He was free just inside the area in the blink of an eye and made no mistake with the finish as the Qatari defenders closed in.

The rest of the half was devoid of real chances, and Qatar, to their credit, did not give up even as the mood in the stadium quickly shifted from mildly optimistic to uttering despair.

The Dutch were doing little to cheer up the crowd, kicking the ball around their back five with the urgency of a pre-season friendly. Memphis Depay, in particular, was shockingly poor in the first period, which is not surprising given that he has only played 116 minutes of La Liga football for Barcelona this season.

Van Gaal’s team struggled to break through the low Qatari block, with only Frenkie de Jong and Klaassen showing the necessary technical ability to find space between the lines and turn.

Following the break, the Netherlands scored again when Klaassen’s cross was flicked into Depay’s path by Boualem Khoukhi. The Barcelona forward could only shoot straight at Meshaal Barsham, who had to make a quick reaction save, but the onrushing de Jong was there to smash home the rebound.

Following that, the game quickly faded away. Substitutes Vincent Janssen and Steven Berghuis almost immediately combined for a goal, but it was ruled out due to an unintentional handball by Gakpo in the build-up. Berghuis, who came in and was active, fired a shot from beyond the area against the crossbar in stoppage time.

Given the sluggishness shown in the second half, the final whistle must have relieved everyone within the stadium. The Netherlands saw this as an opportunity to puff up their chests and flaunt their thing ahead of the knockout rounds. They didn’t do either.

At the very least, they will have the top spot in Group A, which they do not deserve. This was probably Qatar’s best tournament performance, but it was far too little, far too late.

1. The Netherlands (3-4-1-2)

Andries Noppert, goalkeeper – 6/10. I didn’t have much to do.

Jurrien Timber – 7/10 – He looked confident in possession and at ease defensively.

Virgil van Dijk – 6/10 – CB One of the simplest games van Dijk has ever played.

CB: Nathan Ake – 6/10 – Ake delivered his usual dependable performance. Booked.

Denzel Dumfries – 5/10 – RWB Occasionally dangerous down the right flank but largely ineffective with the ball. Technically, they are quite limited, and it shows against a poor side like Qatar.

Daley Blind -7/10 LWB In contrast, Blind’s pass weight was consistent throughout. Intelligent on the ball, with good off-ball movement.

Marten de Roon CM – 5/10 – Had little effect on the game.

Frenkie de Jong CM – 8/10 – Full of life and produced beautiful link-up play. By pouncing on a rebound to make it 2-0, he demonstrated that he was the smartest player on the field.

Davy Klaassen – 7/10 – Alongside de Jong, he was bright and played a key role in both goals.

Cody Gakpo – 7/10 – Started the scoring with a low drive from inside the area but faded later.

Memphis Depay (3/10) CF In the first quarter, he seemed to be off the pace and misplaced the ball many times. It needs to restore match sharpness immediately.

SUB: Steven Berghuis (66 for Klaassen) – 7/10 – Impressive after coming on, having a goal disallowed by VAR before hitting the crossbar from a distance.

N/A SUB: Vincent Janssen (’66 for Depay)

N/A Teun Koopmeiners (’83 for de Roon)

Wout Weghorst (Gakpo, 1983) – N/A

N/A SUB: Kenneth Taylor (86′ for de Jong)

Louis van Gaal, manager – 4/10 This was a poor performance from the Dutch, who did the bare minimum to win the game against far inferior opponents. There will be far more difficult tests for which they appear unprepared.

2. Qatar (3-5-2)

Meshaal Barsham, goalkeeper – 7/10 Early save on Blind couldn’t help Gakpo’s goal. He had a great reaction save on Depay in the second half, but his defenders let him down on the rebound.

CB: Pedro Miguel – 6/10 – Did a good job man-marking Depay in the first half but was too slow to react to de Jong’s goal.

Boualem Khoukhi – 4/10 – CB He was sloppy on the ball, and his backward header was misjudged, resulting in the Dutch’s second goal.

CB: Abdelkarim Hassan – 7/10 – Made a couple of brave runs forward from the back but couldn’t find anyone to cross to. Overall, I had a good game.

Ismael Mohammad – 6/10 – RWB Excellent up and down the flank.

LWB: Homam Elamin – 6/10 – Made an important covering block on Gakpo and beat Dumfries in an early aerial duel. He put up a lot of effort for his squad.

CM: Hassan Al Haydos – 6/10 – The Qatar captain was aggressive and had a few great touches, but he was eventually outmatched and was replaced.

CM: Assim Madibo – 5/10 – Ineffective shielding in front of the defense, but was often overworked.

CM: Abdulaziz Hatem – 4/10 – Tested Noppert from long range in the early exchanges but accomplished nothing else noteworthy.

CF: Almoez Ali – 3/10 – Ali’s contribution was limited to one nice tackle tracking back on de Roon.

CF: Akram Afif – 6/10 – Displayed flashes of brilliance but had to drop too far to get on the ball.

N/A – Ali Assadalla (64′ for Al Haydos)

Mohammed Muntari (64′ sub for Ali) – N/A

N/A SUB: Karim Boudiaf (64′ for Madibo)

Ahmed Alaaeldin (85′ sub for Hatem) – N/A

Musab Kheder (85′ sub for Mohammad) – N/A

Manager: Felix Sanchez – 7/10 – Overall, Qatar put up a spirited performance despite having nothing to play for. The Dutch were limited to a few clear-cut opportunities.

Frenkie de Jong was named match winner (Netherlands)