World Cup: Netherlands pounces on miscues, eliminates U.S.

Cinderella made it to the ball, but when it came time to try on the glass slipper on Saturday, it didn’t fit.

Whatever the young US national team caught in the first two weeks of this World Cup ended in a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands, who ended the Americans’ tournament in the round of 16. The end was quick and relatively painless, with first-half goals from Memphis Depay and Daley Blind setting the tone on a cool, cloudless night in front of an announced crowd of 44,846 at Khalifa International Stadium.

Second-half substitute Haji Wright halved the deficit in the 76th minute Minutes later, Dumfries found himself wide open on the right wing, walking slowly into the box and frantically waving the ball. Blindly signed and Dumfries found the cross once with his left foot, to end the game.

History said the result should never have been in doubt after the first goal: the USA have never won a World Cup game they have overtaken, nor have they beaten a European side in the tournament in the last 12 attempts. The Netherlands, on the other hand, have never lost a World Cup match under Louis van Gaal and have not lost a round of 16 in 16 years.

Neither series ended on Saturday.

Depay put the Dutch ahead in the 10th minute, a right-footed shot by keeper Matt Turner. It was only Turner’s second goal in Qatar and the first from open play, but it wasn’t entirely his fault.

A nice series of one-touch passes and a defensive error by USA allowed Depay to charge into the box, which was surrounded by nothing through space. Dumfries had no trouble picking him out from the right wing and swinging a cross in the box for Depay to bury it in the bottom left corner.

Blind doubled the lead in the final second of first-half injury time, slipping his mark and running to another feed from Dumfries and blasting him once past Turner from almost the same spot. Blind then shot the team to the Dutch bench to celebrate.

Depay got past US midfielder Tyler Adams on the first goal, while defender Sergiño Dest reacted slowly on the second and made it easy for Blind. In a World Cup game, where the differences between teams are often razor-thin, such mistakes are difficult to overcome. And the two-goal deficit was a mountain to climb for the USA, having scored just two goals throughout the group stage.

It took two goals in the second half to equalize.

USA almost got one back just after the break but a Weston McKennie header from a corner was saved by Dutch keeper Andries Noppert and Tim Ream’s rebound attempt was cleared off the line by Cody Gakpo. Next came Wright, whose try in the 75th from a hard angle Minute was cleared at the near post.

But seconds later, after the resulting corner, Pulisic picked him out in a crowd at the top of the six-yard box and Wright redirected the cross. Dumfries responded again five minutes later to seal the win. With one goal and two assists, the Inter Milan winger became the first Dutch player since 1978 to be involved in three goals in a World Cup match.

USA had the second youngest team in Qatar and had only one player in their roster who had previously worn a jersey at a World Cup game. Still, they finished the group stage unbeaten, drawing against fifth-placed England and No. 19 Wales, before defeating Iran and being eliminated from group play for the fourth time in five World Cups.

However, Saturday lacked the energy and enthusiasm that had carried the young Americans through the first two games as the early Dutch goal sucked the life out of the US team.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/soccer/story/2022-12-03/us-netherlands-world-cup World Cup: Netherlands pounces on miscues, eliminates U.S.

Emma Bowman

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