The open crack: goalscorer Gakpo (left) celebrates with De Jong’s cross.
Senegal knows how to annoy the favorites at the start of the World Cup – now almost also the Dutch. Twenty years ago the world marveled at West Africa’s sensational 1-0 win over France, four years ago they beat Poland 2-1 in their opener. And now in Qatar, the reigning African champions proved a tough nut to crack against the Netherlands, until the 84th minute.
Then, Cody Gakpo (23) causes orange ecstasy with a headbutt. Following a cross, the PSV star scored the winning goal. The Netherlands only took a deep breath in discount when they fell 2-0 after a counterattack. First World Cup victory after the semifinal eight years ago in Brazil.
Before Gakpo’s decisive moment, the two nations kicked at eye level. Sometimes De Jong misses a good chance from Oranje with a dribble (19th) or Van Dijk with a corner kick (53rd). Sometimes Diatta fails after a mistake by De Jong (29th) or Dia from the curve (65th) for Senegal.
As the game culminates in the first scoreless match of the World Cup, Gakpo attacks. Without Bayern’s injured star Sadio Mané, Senegal lack the power to come back from the setback.
0:1, 84. Minute: Steel | Pursued by big European clubs, the striker benefits from a mistake by the Senegalese goalkeeper and Chelsea star Mendy. After a cross from De Jong, he receives the ball in front of the goalkeeper who runs and sinks headfirst.
0:2, 90.+9 Minutes: Klaassen | After a counterattack, the Joker lets the Oranje take a deep breath. Coach Van Gaal replaced Klaassen in the 79th minute.
that was something to talk about
The fairytale debut of the Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert (28): coach Van Gaal puts a man who had never played an international match before and just three years ago in Serie B with Foggia Calcio he did not get a new contract . Noppert is now active in the Dutch club Heerenveen. And against Senegal he keeps the box tight.
The fuss over the captain’s armband is less magical: Like five other nations and Switzerland, the Netherlands also caving to FIFA, captain Van Dijk doesn’t wear the rainbow armband, but instead wears FIFA’s “No Discrimination” armband.
Cody Gakpo. No player manages to take control of the game. The active De Jong, for example, almost gave the Senegalese striker Diatta the first goal in the 29th minute. Or the defensive tower Van Dijk has to be invaded several times by the lively forwards. Therefore, the winning scorer is the best.
Eduardo Mendy. He was officially named world goalkeeper after the Champions League victory with Chelsea in 2021. Now the Senegal goalkeeper misses the first game. At 0:1 he misjudges the run, at 0:2 he lets Depay’s conclusion bounce forward.
Here is how to proceed
Senegal will face the host Qatar on Friday (2 pm) – The Netherlands will face the initial winner of the game, Ecuador (5 pm).