Three games in, and the 2022 Fifa World Cup has already been a hotbed for controversy and protests.
The Iran-England was embroiled in the FIFA crackdown on displays of LGBTGQ+ support by England players to the displays of solidarity for the protestors in Iran by the Iranian men’s team and fans.
But the third match, Netherlands-Senegal, lacked that tension as the teams made their way to the pitch.
The well-rehearsed Dutch attack looked strong, providing clear chances when the ball was played over the top of the Senegalese backline.
However, the Dutch squandered multiple freekicks in dangerous positions in the first half. The Senegalese were sharp in counters but were unable to convert–seemingly still trying to get calibrated with Sadio Mane’s absence.
The second half played out much like the first, with Senegal settling into their defense, letting the Dutch bring the attack to them. Memphis Depay– ruled initially out of the match due to a hamstring injury– came on in the 60th minute to replace Janssen in the attack.
Senegal’s best chance came from a penetrating ball into the Dutch’s box to the feet of Kouyate, forcing the keeper Noppert to make a near post save.
The first goal came for the Netherlands in the 83rd minute when Frenkie de Jong played a ball into the Senegalese penalty box that was directed skillfully by Oranje Wunderkind Cody Gakpo.
Twenty-five minutes later, Depay forced Edouard Mendy to make a save, pushing the ball right into the path of David Klassen, who buried the ball in the final minute of extra time.
The only real point of controversy may have been the pure elation announcer Joe Shennan was feeling every time he pronounced a Dutch player’s name. You could almost hear the smile spread across his face with every recap and stat about the Oranje.
The Netherlands will play Ecuador this Friday (11 am ET) at Khalifa International Stadium.
Senegal will play Qatar this Friday (8 am ET) at Al Thumama Stadium.