The boy with the golden touch is making a solid case for being this World Cup’s golden boot winner. Manchester United target, and Dutch star striker, Cody Gakpo fired Oranje into the lead at the 26-minute mark.
The Netherlands beat hosts Qatar 2-0 to secure the top spot in Group A.
Qatar was mathematically already out of the running to progress to the final 16, but they gave their all against Louis van Gaal‘s team nonetheless.
The boys in orange put in a commanding display, keeping the lion’s share of possession (63%).
Oranje also eclipsed opponents Qatar in completed passes. The Dutch completed 784 passes, whereas the hosts only completed 452.
Another Manchester United target, Frenkie de Jong, also put his name on the scoresheet in the second half. Qatar shot-stopper Meshal Barsham saved Memphis Depay’s effort but could not prevent De Jong’s toe poke from going in. The Dutch playmaker pounced on the loose ball, beating two defenders to get there first and scored his 2nd goal for Oranje.
However, Gakpo’s name will be up in lights tonight.
Gakpo in the headlines again
Gakpo is proving his worth and showing why he is a real contender for the golden boot. His right-footed drive into the bottom right completes a perfect hattrick of goals in the group stage. He has now scored with his head, his so-called weaker left foot, and his right foot.
Gakpo’s form going into Qatar 2022 was red-hot for both club and country and shows no sign of slowing down.
Gakpo by the numbers
Before the Netherlands clashed with Qatar, only three players had ever scored in three consecutive World Cup appearances for Oranje. Now there are four. The 23-year-old PSV forward is in esteemed company, joining Johan Neeskens (1974), Dennis Bergkamp (1994), and Wesley Sneijder (2010).
He has been directly involved in at least one goal in his last six appearances for the Netherlands in all competitions (5 goals, one assist). For club and country, in all competitions this season, Gakpo has been involved in 35 goals in 29 appearances, scoring 17 goals and assisting a further 18.
The young attacker will be a handful for defences in the last 16. If Gakpo maintains this form, he will also prove problematic for commentators, pundits, and writers.
We might run out of plaudits to describe his virtuoso performances in this tournament.
Erik ten Hag is already known to be a keen admirer of the forward, and Gakpo is doing nothing to dampen the Man United boss’ determination to sign him.