16:20, George Flood15 mins: Gakpo has been at the heart of everything good to come from the Netherlands so far on his World Cup debut. He combines well with Dumfries, almost leading to another glaring Dutch chance. His accurate cross to the back post is then headed wide by Blind, who had risen above Real Betis full-back Sabaly. 16:17, George Flood13 mins: Skilful feet from Diatta to bamboozle Blind, but De Ligt is there to clean up for the Netherlands. The offside flag then thwarts Senegal on their next foray into the Dutch penalty area. The AFCON holders are asking far more questions just at the moment. (REUTERS)16:15, George Flood12 mins: Sarr and Dumfries are both hurt after a collision that followed a stretching challenge from the Inter Milan right-back, who was already carrying a knee issue before this game.
“Gakpo is more creative, Klaassen more of a team player, ” he said. “If Memphis does not participate, we have one less creative player. “Then it is quite logical that Gakpo will play and Klaassen will not, because Janssen is not a really creative player. Then I have explained enough, I think. ” (AFP via Getty Images)15:49, George FloodWe should mention that Memphis Depay is on the bench for the Netherlands this afternoon. Interesting to see if he is fit enough to be called upon if required after that hamstring trouble. Van Gaal will want to avoid having to use him if at all possible. 15:43, George FloodFinal preparations in Doha.
Senegal’s hopes of repeating their 2002 exploits have been significantly hampered by the absence of Sadio Mane, their superstar forward ruled out for the tournament with his calf injury suffered on club duty for Bayern Munich requiring surgery. The champions of Africa boast plenty of other attacking threats and a strong squad full of players from Europe’s major leagues, but suffered from a clear lack of cutting edge without Mane in Monday’s 2-0 loss. The Netherlands also lacked inspiration before Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen popped up with a late goal each to make a winning return to football’s grandest stage.
Kick-off is now just over 15 minutes away! (REUTERS) (Getty Images) (REUTERS)15:33, George FloodWhat an occasion for Andries Noppert, the towering 6ft 8in stopper (the tallest player at the World Cup) who has won the battle to be Van Gaal’s first-choice goalkeeper at this tournament. He has been excellent in the Eredivisie for Heerenveen since returning to his first club from Go Ahead Eagles in the summer, but has only 45 senior club appearances under his belt at 28. Noppert has beat out competition from Justin Bijlow of Feyenoord and Ajax’s Remko Pasveer, with the Dutch not exactly blessed with world-class ‘keeping options at present.
Former No1 Jasper Cillessen did not even make the final squad, along with Freiburg’s Mark Flekken. “I know, you don’t yet. No, I’m not going to tell you. I never reveal the line-up. I’m reasonably convinced of my choice. It would be bad if it were otherwise, ” a cryptic Van Gaal had said of his goalkeeper selection on Sunday. (Getty Images)Diatta replaces Mane for Senegal15:20, George FloodAliou Cisse responds to Mane’s absence as expected, with Monaco’s Krepin Diatta joining Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Villarreal frontman Boulaye Dia in a still potent Senegal attack. Premier League regulars Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Nampalys Mendy, Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrissa Gana Gueye all start as expected.
A boost for the Lions comes with the fitness of Abdou Diallo, who had suffered a knee problem on club duty with RB Leipzig earlier this month and had initially been considered doubtful for today. (AFP via Getty Images)Noppert handed Dutch debut in goal15:11, George FloodSome stage for Heerenveen goalkeeper Andries Noppert to make his senior Netherlands bow between the sticks. Denzel Dumfries is fit to start on the right, with Jurrien Timber on the bench as Matthijs de Ligt lines up alongside captain Virgil van Dijk and Nathan Ake in a three-man defence. There will be plenty of excitement surrounding the World Cup debut of Cody Gakpo, who has built quite a reputation at PSV Eindhoven and attracted transfer interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.
Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy is scrambling to get underneath Gakpo’s back-post cross, but Kouyate is there to head away from danger. 16:32, George Flood28 mins: Van Dijk, who is facing the wrong way, is very slow to react to a De Jong pass and the Netherlands put themselves in all sorts of trouble. Gueye’s initial shot is blocked and Senegal try doggedly to create sufficient space among the sea of orange for another, with Diatta eventually drilling a low effort comfortably wide of the near post. 16:30, George Flood26 mins: The Oranje force their own corner and a right-wing delivery is headed well wide by a leaping Van Dijk, who got up along with Janssen.
It’s not been a vintage afternoon for the Barcelona midfielder thus far, it must be said. Van Gaal will demand improvement. Second half underway17:06, George FloodThe second half is underway. No changes from either manager at the break, with a struggling De Ligt still on for the Netherlands. You wonder if we will see Depay off the bench the longer this stays goalless, if indeed he is fit enough for a cameo. 17:00, George FloodJust the one shot on target in that first half, which was a speculative low Sabaly effort that was easily dealt with by Noppert in the Dutch goal.
GOAL! Senegal 0-1 Netherlands | Cody Gakpo 84'17:45, George Flood84 mins: A breakthrough at last, with just six minutes left on the clock. Gakpo times his run perfectly to beat Mendy to De Jong’s flighted cross and glance in a header on his World Cup debut. Will that prove to be the winner? (REUTERS)17:44, George Flood81 mins: Sarr appeals for a penalty after Ake gets very physical to prevent him meeting a cross for Senegal.
Ecuador will be delighted if this score holds! (AP)16:50, George Flood45 mins: Two minutes of additional time have been signalled at the end of this first half. A poised Bergwijn shapes for the acrobatic but has the ball nipped away from his toes after a Dumfries cross. 16:48, George Flood43 mins: Senegal concede a cheap corner as a scrambling Mendy can’t intervene when the ball skips awkwardly off the surface and behind. But they have no trouble clearing, with a speedy run following down the right flank as a quick counter-attack is launched. However, a through ball into the box is overhit and swept up by Noppert. 16:45, George Flood40 mins: Watford’s Sarr is the unquestioned dangerman for Senegal, beating his marker and playing a lovely ball into the six-yard box that is hacked clear by Ake. He’s also been hauled down by a struggling De Ligt, though Gueye’s free-kick delivery is extremely disappointing.
The game is starting to open back up a little as we enter the final 15 minutes, but the Dutch are thwarted all too easily once more. 17:35, George Flood73 mins: Kouyate is stretchered off and replaced by Pape Gueye of Marseille, with Diatta also making way for Villarreal attacker Nicolas Jackson in this final substitution window. Chance for Senegal as Gueye’s vicious strike is parried by Noppert, with Diatta having been flagged offside as he tried to get the rebound. 17:31, George Flood70 mins: 20 minutes left for one of these sides to find a winner after a watchable first half has given way to a very slack second. Nottingham Forest’s Kouyate is now down and in some discomfort, having landed very awkwardly after an aerial challenge and hand from De Jong.
Gueye booked after an arm to the face of Klaassen during an aerial tussle. 17:53, George Flood92 mins: Jakobs leans back on the half-volley and lashes a wild effort high into the stands. How Senegal have missed talisman Mane this evening. 17:53, George Flood90 mins: EIGHT minutes of added time for Senegal to find an equaliser. This isn’t over yet... 17:49, George Flood86 mins: That goal suddenly sparks Senegal into life and Noppert has to get down again at his front post to repel a dangerous low shot from Pape Gueye that was heading in.
15:57, George FloodTime for the national anthems, with Senegal’s “Le Lion rouge” up first. “Wilhelmus” to follow. 15:55, George FloodSwathes of empty seats inside the 40, 000-capacity Al-Thumama Stadium as a pre-match pyrotechnics show entertains the fans that have made the trip. The players are about to emerge from the tunnel. A very pro-Dutch crowd, as you might expect for one of the World Cup’s historically favourite teams who are back after missing Russia 2018. 15:52, George FloodHere is Van Gaal at his pre-match press conference explaining why Gakpo gets the nod ahead of Ajax’s Davy Klaassen in the Dutch midfield today...
Senegal vs Netherlands: How to watch live, stream link, team
The Liverpool star is complaining about something, but Brazilian referee Wilton Pereira Sampaio having none of it. 16:28, George Flood24 mins: Superb from Sarr, who drops the shoulder, leaves his marker all at sea before unleashing a goal-bound drive that is headed behind bravely by Van Dijk. The Dutch get the subsequent corner clear. 16:25, George Flood21 mins: A backtracking Sarr’s clumsy foul gives the Netherlands a free-kick in a terrific position just outside the box.
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