In-form Cody Gakpo scored again as the Netherlands finished top of Group A, ending Qatar’s miserable appearance at their home World Cup with a third straight defeat.
Qatar’s dismal performance meant they became the first host nation to exit the tournament with three group stage defeats, finishing bottom without a single point.
The Dutch, who failed to qualify four years ago, advance to the round of 16 with an unbeaten record and face the team that finished second in Group B – those matches will start at 19:00 GMT.
African champions Senegal beat Ecuador to take second place and face the team that finished top of Group B in the knockout stage.
PSV Eindhoven winger Gakpo has now scored the first goal of the Netherlands’ three group matches, attacking and grating a finish into the bottom corner on that occasion.
Qatar looked to hit back immediately but Ismaeel Mohammad’s shot on the stretch from outside the box was straight on Andries Noppert.
But Louis van Gaal’s men scored early in the second half to dash any Qatari hopes of a comeback as Frenkie de Jong pushed into an open net after Memphis Depay’s shot was saved.
The Dutch could have won more, as Steven Berghuis had a goal ruled out and also hit the crossbar.
Gakpo meeting places
Three-time runners-up Holland watched from home four years ago but are making up for lost time by reminding people of their qualities.
The spine running through their side is formidable, mustered at the back by Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk – their captain – past master De Jong in the center of the park and cool finisher Gakpo up top.
And the 23-year-old PSV player’s stock continues to rise after completing a squad transfer after Davy Klaassen was sacked to become the first Dutch player to score in his first three Champions League games. world.
Gakpo has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United and his price tag is sure to rise with every impressive performance on the world stage.
For club and country he is continuing a remarkable season and has now been involved in 35 goals in 29 games – scoring 17 times and providing 18 assists.
With a raucous group of Qatar fans behind the goal looking to wake their side up in the second half, De Jong – who himself could have moved to Old Trafford last summer – shattered all expectations by scoring his first Cup goal of the world in the 49th minute.
It could have been worse for the hosts but Berghuis was denied a handball goal by Gakpo in the build-up and the substitute’s curling effort hit the bar on a very comfortable night for the Dutch.
Qatar had actually started the best, as captain Hassan Al-Haydos’ long-range strike was saved by Noppert, while Pedro Miguel volleyed in from a corner.
In addition to three consecutive defeats in their first World Cup, Qatar have also conceded seven goals, the most by a host country in the group stage.
With the number of teams rising from 32 to 48 for the next finals in 2026, Qatar can put this miserable campaign behind them and look forward to trying to qualify in their own right four years from now.