Netherlands take on Qatar at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, looking to clinch top spot in Group A of the World Cup. They are currently top of the group but are level with Ecuador on four points and goal difference. The Netherlands are ahead of them on fair play points. Senegal are on three points, while Qatar can't qualify after two losses. The Netherland could win this game but still finish second if Ecuador can get ahead on goal difference or fair play points Their opening World Cup game saw them beat Senegal 2-0 but they could only then draw 1-1 with Ecuador in a performance that raised more questions than answers. The Oranje started strongly, scoring in the early stages of the game, courtesy of another strike by in-form PSV ace Cody Gakpo. They failed to follow that up however, conceding early in the second half and surviving some real scares late on to claim the one point. While possessing serious talent in defence and midfield, the lack of a prolific target man up front has cost the Netherlands and could prove costly in the latter stages of the tournament. On the bright side, they have now taken their tally to four points in the group, and a point against Qatar will see them through to the next stage. The Netherlands have also remained unbeaten in their last seventeen international games, winning twelve and scoring in all of those.
This really was not how Qatar’s inaugural World Cup campaign was supposed to go. After essentially preparing for twelve years and training since September, the Qatari side fell to their second defeat in two games against Senegal, with their 3-1 loss making them just the second hosts to get eliminated at the group stages and the first to do so after two games. While much-improved on Friday than their nervy opening game, the stark reality is that there is simply not enough quality within this Qatari outfit to contest something against the world’s greatest. They have now conceded five goals in two games, scored just once and had failed to register a shot on target in the tournament until the latter stages of their second game. Qatar have also failed to win in five of their last nine games, with defeats such as the one against the Croatian U23 team showcasing their lack of quality for such a grand stage. While they will want to end their long-awaited first World Cup campaign on a high, it is hard to see them getting anything from this game, and merely containing their Dutch opponents to a respectable scoreline should be the target this one.
The Netherlands will make the last 16 if drawing this game. They will want to finish top as second place could see them facing England in the next round. It's tight at the top of this group though and the Dutch could win this game and still be pipped by Ecuador. Winning by a few goals would put them in a strong position. Based on their form, they should come out on top here. Qatar have had a poor World Cup but are not quite top class material. They will still want to end the tournament on a respectable note. Backing a professional win by the Dutch and Under 3.5 goals is our recommended bet. As a side bet, backing the in form Cody Gakpo to score for the third consecutive match.
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