Men's Team

Ake and Netherlands through to World Cup quarter-finals

Nathan Ake is through to the World Cup quarter-finals after the Netherlands defeated USA 3-1 in the first knockout game of Qatar 2022.

Ake played the full 90 minutes here in the Round of 16 win at the Khalifa International Stadium.

First half goals by Memphis Depay and Daley Blind put the Dutch in command before the break but USA’s Haji Wright set up a grandstand finish by pulling one back on 76 minutes.

But Denzel Dumfries put the tie to bed, five minutes later, with a cool left foot finish at the back post.

Depay opened the scoring on 10 minutes with a ruthless finish as Dumfries pulled the ball back for him to fire home.

Blind scored an almost carbon copy in first half injury time and it was that man, Dumfries, who again turned provider. He put it on a plate as Blind made it 2-0 before running over to the bench to celebrate with the whole squad.

The Netherlands continued to dominate and attack after the break, with Depay seeing a fierce effort tipped over on the hour mark by Matt Turner in the USA goal.

NATHAN AKE | CITY'S FLYING DUTCHMAN

Virgil van Dijk looped a header over the bar from a corner on 70 minutes and, moments later, Turner produced a stunning double save – first from a powerful 20 yard strike from Teun Koopmeiners and then the follow-up header by Depay.

USA were handed a lifeline on 76 minutes when Wright, who’d missed a golden chance moments earlier, flicked home a brilliant effort following a pinpoint Christian Pulisic cross from the right.

But that momentary anxiety was eased when Dumfries made no mistake with a superb volleyed finish on 81 minutes.

WINNING FEELING : Nathan Ake starred in Netherlands win over USA.
WINNING FEELING : Nathan Ake starred in Netherlands win over USA.

As a result of the victory, Ake and Netherlands will meet Argentina, who beat Australia in the day's other Round of 16 encounter, setting up a clash with fellow City star, Julian Alvarez, in the last eight.

Louis van Gaal’s side are growing in confidence as they now go through to their first quarter-final since 2014, after missing out on Russia 2018 completely.

The Netherlands are three-time runners-up in the World Cup and semi-finalists twice.

They topped Group A this time around, with two wins and a draw – and no surprise given their rebirth under van Gaal.

They’re ranked No.3 in the world, having risen nine places this year and are unbeaten in van Gaal’s third spell in charge over 19 games.

Their last defeat was at this stage of Euro 2020 under Frank de Boer, where they lost 2-0 to Czech Republic.

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