The Netherlands and Senegal have sealed their places in the next round of the World Cup.
The Dutch finished top of Group A after beating hosts Qatar 2-0, while Senegal grabbed second place after a dramatic 2-1 win over Ecuador.
Cody Gakpo netted his third goal in three games as the Netherlands comfortably beat Qatar to finish on seven points.
Qatar’s dismal showing means they became the first host nation to exit the tournament with three group-stage losses, finishing bottom with no points.
The Qataris had been eliminated after their 3-1 loss to Senegal and despite huge investment in state-of-the-art facilities to host the World Cup, they came up short again on the pitch.
They were not without their moments in a dull first half, forcing a couple of corners and threatening on the edge of the Dutch area, but no sooner had they bared their teeth than they were hit with a gut-punch of a goal by Gakpo.
Davy Klaassen played an inviting ball into the path of the 23-year-old and he received it at pace, slicing through the heart of the defence before dispatching a well-placed shot past Meshaal Bersham to open the scoring in the 26th minute.
Four minutes into the second half the Dutch struck again as a cross from Klaassen made its way to Depay and the Qatari defence was caught ball-watching as his shot was saved, allowing Frenkie de Jong to bundle it into the net.
The final whistle signalled the start of the short wait for the Dutch to find out which of the Group B teams – England, Wales, Iran or the United States – they will meet in the last 16.
Asian champions Qatar will go back to the role of tournament hosts and plotting the future of the game in their country.
Meanwhile, winger Ismaila Sarr kept his cool to score a first-half penalty and captain Kalidou Koulibaly netted a second goal as Senegal beat Ecuador 2-1 to earn a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Sarr scored his penalty in the 44th minute having earned the spot-kick himself, but Ecuador, who needed only a draw to reach the knockout rounds, equalised through Moises Caicedo.
That joy for the South Americans lasted only three minutes though as Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead, which they were able to hold onto for the remainder for the match.
The African champions finish second in Group A with six points from their three matches, one behind winners Netherlands and two ahead of Ecuador, whose tournament held much promise but has ended in bitter disappointment.
Senegal reach the knockout stage for only the second time.
Story Credit: rnz.co.nz