Cody Gakpo and Klaassen stun Senegal with thrilling Netherlands late show
It started as a story about two center-forwards and Cody Gakpo turned into a match between two goalkeepers. It had appeared that the omission of Sadio Mané and Memphis Depay from the starting lineups would be the deciding factor as the Netherlands opened their World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over Senegal. But in the end, it came down to the two goalkeepers: the Dutch debutant Andries Noppert, who played admirably, and the Senegalese Édouard Mendy, who did not.
Everything appeared to be going perfectly for Senegal. This match sounded like a Cup Cody Gakpo of Nations match with their supporters drumming behind Aliou Cissé’s bench, and for a while, it appeared to be one as well. There was very little breadth, a lot of bodies colliding in the center, and there was only ever the slightest possibility of a goal.
With six seconds left, one did finally come, and it was for the Netherlands, and Mendy messed up miserably. He also failed to dazzle in the crucial split-second that ended the game late in injury time.
Senegal had, for the most part, neutralized the Dutch with their three strong central midfielders, but when Frenkie de Jong was given time to measure his cross from the left, Mendy was slow to react, allowing Cody Gakpo to get to the ball first and direct it into the net because of Mendy’s tardiness.
Then, as Senegal chased the game, Depay, who had just come off the bench, was launched on the break, and Mendy tamely put his low shot into Davy Klaassen’s path.
The contrast was stark since Senegal had the best of the scant number of prior clear chances. The Dutch had had such problems finding goalkeepers recently that Remko Pasveer, a 39-year-old with no previous caps, played in the final two matches before the World Cup, Cody Gakpo but Noppert seemed like an inspired choice—a wholly typical Louis van Gaal risk. Noppert admitted that no one else would have chosen him.
His tale is truly amazing. Noppert, 28, has only ever participated in 45 league games. He was a late developer, and when he left Dordrecht in 2020, his family begged him to stop playing football. He was briefly without a club.
He chose to disregard them, which is fortunate for the Netherlands. Boulaye Dia’s effort on the turn was stopped by Noppert early in the second half. With 30 minutes remaining, Noppert made a much more impressive block to stop Idrissa Gueye from the edge of the box. Shortly after the Dutch took the lead, Noppert made a sprawling save low to his right to stop Pape Gueye’s long-range shot.
Van Gaal, who appeared amused by Noppert’s claim in his post-match interview that he is similar to his manager, said of him, “He has an open nature.”
He is fairly direct and vocal, which is likely what Cody Gakpo meant, but that does not automatically make him a qualified coach. His ability to stop balls is a strength, and he did so flawlessly Cody Gakpo three times today.
Van Gaal was in his customarily blunt and forthright mood. Frannie de Jong? Although it wasn’t his best performance, he did provide the assist for the game-winning goal, which was scored by Frenkie de Jong. For us, it was a very difficult match. Cody Gakpo
“When the opponent had the ball, we didn’t have too many problems, but I wasn’t happy with our ball possession; we were inaccurate and ran with the ball too much.”
That helped Senegal’s position somewhat. Their coach Cissé stated, “We deserved at least a point from this encounter. “Right away, we had a clear plan. We intended to press them from high up the pitch, but ultimately we had to pull back a bit. Despite our chances, we failed to score.
He felt his team’s play had diminished after Cheikhou Kouyaté was forced to leave with a twisted ankle, and he also had to wait to see how left-back Abdou Diallo would fare after leaving the game with a muscle strain .
Mané’s absence is without a doubt Senegal’s biggest injury concern. Despite admitting that there was “a problem,” Cissé argued that “the players that did play did what was expected of them,” notably in “shutting down their attacks on the wings.” At least Van Gaal could have introduced Depay, whom he lauded for adding more “precision.”
Senegal’s next opponent, Qatar, can’t possibly be as awful as they were in Sunday’s loss to Ecuador. Cissé explained that if you lose the first match, the second one will act as a final.
Qualification is still within their grasp, but the Dutch are in charge.
Everything appeared to be going so perfectly for Senegal. This match sounded like an Africa Cup of Nations contest with their supporters drumming away behind Aliou Cissé’s bench, and for a while, it appeared to be one as well. There was very little breadth, a crowded center with several individuals crashing into one another, and barely the slightest possibility of a goal. However, when one did, with six seconds left, it was for the Netherlands. The majority of the time, Senegal played outstanding defense, but Frenkie de Jong was given time to measure his cross from the left, and Cody Gakpo beat the offside trap, got to the ball before Édouard Mendy, and directed his header into the goal. Davy Klaassen intervened after Cody Gakpo .
Senegal’s situation seemed to be perfect. It sounded like an Africa Cup of Nations match, with their supporters drumming behind Aliou Cissé’s bench, and for a while, it appeared to be one as well. There was very little space between the bodies colliding in the tight center, and there was never a Cody Gakpo clear indication that a goal might be on the way. However, one did come in with six seconds left, and it was for the Netherlands.
Frenkie de Jong had time to measure his cross from the left, and Cody Gakpo caught the offside trap, received the ball in front of Édouard Mendy, and redirected his header despite Senegal’s generally strong defense.