Goal-machine Gakpo's at it again! Netherlands winners, losers and ratings as PSV star puts Premier League giants on red alert

Cody Gakpo Netherlands 2022
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With three goals in three group-stage games at the World Cup, a January transfer looks an absolute certainty for the in-demand Dutch star

This is Cody Gakpo's World Cup - we're all just living in it. The Netherlands forward arrived into the tournament as 'one to watch', and he has certainly lived up to his billing so far, his goals firing Louis van Gaal's side through to the last 16 as Group A winners.

Gakpo, as he had been against both Senegal and Ecuador previously, was the man to break the deadlock for the Dutch against Qatar on Tuesday, his first-half strike setting them on their way to a routine 2-0 victory. They will face the runners-up of Group B - England's group - in the knockout stage.

Frenkie de Jong grabbed the Netherlands' second goal shortly after half-time, and Van Gaal's men were able to play out the rest of the game in second gear, pretty much. They are yet to fully convince, in terms of their overall performance levels, but they are where they need to be for now.

And with Gakpo in this kind of form, they will fear nobody. The 23-year-old's agent, surely, will be fielding a few calls from Premier League clubs in the coming days and weeks.

GOAL takes a look at the winners and losers from the Oranje's latest win...

  1. The Winners
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    The Winners

    Cody Gakpo:

    Johan Neeskens, Dennis Bergkamp, Wesley Sneijder. The list of Dutchmen to have scored in three successive World Cup fixtures is a short and illustrious one, and it has a new name on it now. Having opened the scoring with his head against Senegal and with his left foot against Ecuador, Gakpo completed his 'perfect hat-trick' with a clinical right-foot finish here, taking advantage of Davy Klaassen's sublime flick and yet another gaping hole in the Qatar defence. He's on some run of form, the 23-year-old. This was his 35th goal contribution in 29 matches for club and country this season, and he has now been directly involved in a goal in each of his last six international appearances. The Dutch, as a team, may not be flying yet, but their star forward most certainly is. A January transfer from PSV looks likelier with each passing game.

    Davy Klaassen:

    If Gakpo has been the man to make the difference for Louis van Gaal's side in the group stage, than Klaassen has not been far behind. He too has been involved in a goal in each of the three matches, scoring against Senegal before setting up Gakpo against Ecuador and Qatar. His assist here was lovely, a smart, one-touch flick into his striker's path, as Qatar's defence parted like the Red Sea. Klaassen may not have left much of a mark in the Premier League with Everton, but he's a different animal when he pulls on an orange jersey. Having started the tournament on the bench, he'll take some shifting from the starting XI now.

    Memphis Depay:

    It might not have been his best performance, but this was a huge step forward, both for Depay and for his country. The 28-year-old's last start had been all the way back in September, and so the sight of him coming through 66 minutes unscathed here will have pleased Van Gaal immensely. Sure, he was short of his best, snatching at a couple of early openings, but Depay is a class act and has a superb record for the Netherlands. And with none of Steven Bergwijn, Vincent Janssen or Wout Weghorst convincing so far, the Dutch will need him alongside Gakpo if they are to have any chance of a deep run in the tournament.

  2. The Losers
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    The Losers

    The hosts:

    Farewell, then, to Qatar. Not very good, were they? At least they made a bit of World Cup history here, mind. No host nation had ever lost three games at a tournament before, but Felix Sanchez's side have looked ill at ease from the moment the first whistle sounded against Ecuador. They leave with three losses, only one goal scored and seven conceded, and having made precious little impression. That should disappoint their supporters. It is easy to scoff at their efforts, but let's not forget that this was a team which became Asian Cup winners in 2019, beating Saudi Arabia and Japan en route. Those two sides were able to pull off famous giant-killing victories here, but Qatar never even threatened to do something similar. Sanchez and his players should be extremely disappointed with their contribution.

    Maarten de Roon:

    Three games, three different partners for Frenkie de Jong in the Dutch midfield, with none of them able to seize their opportunity. De Roon was the man given the nod by Van Gaal here, but like Steven Berghuis against Senegal and Teun Koopmeiners against Ecuador, the Atalanta man was far from convincing. His distribution was loose, putting his side under pressure on more than one occasion during the first half, and while there was no shortage of endeavour, Van Gaal would have expected far more against such limited opposition. De Roon was replaced a little over 20 minutes into the second half, and it was no surprise. His manager has a big call to make for the last 16. It would be a surprise if the former Middlesbrough man got the shirt.


    How can a team contribute so much and finish with so little? For two games, Ecuador were the most impressive side in Group A, but they paid the price for failing to kill off the Netherlands in the second half last week, as their 2-1 defeat to Senegal saw them eliminated. Credit must go to the African champions, who without star man Sadio Mane were able to bounce back from their opening-game disappointment against the Dutch to get the two wins they required for qualification. Senegal could face England in the last 16, but Ecuador will wonder how they're not.

  3. Netherlands Ratings: Defence
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    Netherlands Ratings: Defence

    Andries Noppert (6/10):

    Little to really stretch him, but he's looked assured throughout the group stage.

    Denzel Dumfries (7/10):

    More prominent than in the two previous games, and his cross led to the second goal.

    Jurrien Timber (7/10):

    Excellent in possession and rarely flustered defensively. Contested everything and won the majority.

    Virgil van Dijk (7/10):

    Was in pipe and slippers mode for the most part, and he won all his headers.

    Nathan Ake (7/10):

    Looks the part on the left of a back three.

    Daley Blind (7/10):

    His passing was good and Qatar never really tested him going the other way.

  4. Midfield
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    Maarten de Roon (5/10):

    Poor. Gave away the ball carelessly early on leading to a chance for Hatem, and was later caught in possession in his own half. Another loose pass put Ake under pressure. Didn't do enough to earn a place for the last 16.

    Frenkie de Jong (7/10):

    Showed good desire to grab his goal, and was as tidy as we have come to expect in possession.

    Davy Klaassen (7/10):

    Lovely flick to create Gakpo's goal, and he always looked lively.

  5. Attack
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    Memphis Depay (6/10):

    Looked rusty as you might expect, missing a couple of early chances, but his shot led to the second goal and the fact he got through 66 minutes is a major positive for a team that needs to give Gakpo as much help as possible.

    Cody Gakpo (8/10):

    Clinical again, this time on his right foot. Is furthering his reputation with every game, even if he has not really done much except score!

  6. Subs & Manager
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    Subs & Manager

    Steven Berghuis (6/10):

    Denied a goal immediately by a handball decision against Gakpo, and rattled the bar with a superb late effort. Looks the best of Van Gaal's midfield partners for De Jong.

    Vincent Janssen (6/10):

    Set up Berghuis for the disallowed goal.

    Wout Weghorst (N/A):

    Came on late, and looks ill-suited to this team.

    Teun Koopmeiners (N/A):

    Late sub with the game won. Thankless task, really.

    Kenneth Taylor (N/A):

    On late for his World Cup debut.

    Louis van Gaal (6/10):

    Job done. His team is not sparkling, but it looks solid enough and has a matchwinner in Gakpo. Will need to improve in the last 16, but they should be hard to beat.