Sports, Football

Netherlands look to pile more misery on Qatar

Published : 28 Nov 2022 07:38 PM | Updated : 28 Nov 2022 07:38 PM

Netherlands will enter Tuesday's Group A contest with tournament hosts Qatar knowing that a win or a draw would see them qualify for the last-16 stage of the 2022 World Cup.

Holland would also be through to the knockout round with a defeat if Ecuador beat Senegal in the section's other match, but Qatar have already been eliminated, having lost their opening two matches

Qatar, meanwhile, have been eliminated in the group stage, with the host nation losing their opening two matches at the tournament to Ecuador and Senegal.

Netherlands opened their tournament with a 2-0 success over Senegal on November 21, which placed them in a brilliant position to book their spot in the knockout stage heading into their second game with Ecuador.

Cody Gakpo's second goal of the World Cup saw Louis van Gaal's side take the lead against Ecuador on Friday, but Enner Valencia came up with a leveller early in the second period, with the two sides sharing the spoils, so Holland still have work to do when it comes to progressing in the competition.

As mentioned, Van Gaal's side would be through to the round of 16 if they win or draw against Qatar, while a defeat would also see them qualify, providing that Ecuador overcome Senegal.

Netherlands will certainly not want to take any chances when it comes to their progression, but it would be a shock if they were unable to qualify from this position.

Holland failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but they have finished second and third in their last two tournaments, so it would certainly not be a shock to see them advance deep into the competition.

First position in Group A would see them take on the runner-up in Group B, which will be either England, Iran, USA or Wales, with all four sides still battling to qualify for the next round.

Netherlands boss Van Gaal has a number of big decisions to make when it comes to his starting side for Tuesday's contest with Qatar.

Memphis Depay has now featured twice off the bench in the tournament, as he builds his fitness following an injury, but the Barcelona attacker could come in for a start here.

Jurrien Timber will again be hoping to get the nod over Matthijs de Ligt at the back, while there is likely to be a change in midfield, with Steven Berghuis bidding to replace Teun Koopmeiners.

Gakpo has now scored twice in Qatar, and the PSV Eindhoven attacker is expected to start behind a front two of Memphis and Steven Bergwijn, with Davy Klaassen dropping down to the bench.

As for Qatar, Mohammed Muntari's goal off the bench against Senegal could earn the forward a spot in the starting XI here.

Abdulaziz Hatem also made a positive impression as a second-half substitute last time out, so it would not be a surprise to see him come into the side on Tuesday.

Almoez Ali is likely to join Muntari in the final third of the field, with the former looking to add to the 42 goals that he has already scored for the national side.

There will also be another start in a deeper area for the captain Hassan Al-Haydos, who boasts an impressive record of 36 goals in 170 appearances for his country.