Men's Team

Nathan Ake helps Netherlands progress to World Cup last-16

Nathan Ake started as the Netherlands defeated Qatar 2-0 to advance to the World Cup knockout stages as Group A winners.

City’s defender played the entirety of the victory in Doha and featured on the left-side of a back three alongside Virgil van Dijk and Jurrien Timber.

Going into their final group game, Louis van Gaal’s side knew victory would secure their place in the Round of 16 - following their opening game success against Senegal and their draw with Ecuador last time out.

And they almost made the perfect start when a combination of Davy Klaasen and Daley Blind tested the ability of Meshaal Barsham, before the ex-Manchester United man looped his final effort over the bar.

For Ake, his appearance against Qatar represented his third consecutive outing at the tournament as he produced another calm and composed performance.

The Netherlands found the breakthrough in the 26th minute.

Cody Gakpo's red-hot form for PSV Eindhoven has impressed at the start of the season, and he extended his tournament tally to three goals when he collected the ball on the edge of the box, drove inside and fired low into the bottom corner.

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Oranje went in at half-time with a slender lead, but added to their advantage four minutes after the interval.

Frenkie de Jong showed his poacher's instinct to tap home Memphis Depay's rebounded effort from close range, after Barsham expertly saved the latter's initial effort from five-yards.

With 23 minutes remaining, the Netherlands thought they had a third when Steven Burghuis neatly fired home, but VAR spotted a handball by Gakpo in the build-up, ruling out the Ajax man's effort.

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The victory over the tournament hosts rounded off a strong group stage for van Gaal's side in which they recorded seven points across three games.

And as Group A winners, Ake and the Netherlands will face the eventual second placed team in Group B in the Round of 16.

This will be one of England, Wales, Iran and USA on Saturday 3 December at 15:00pm (UK).

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