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FIFA Group A matches: Senegal, Netherlands advance to knockouts

FIFA Group A matches: Senegal, Netherlands advance to knockouts

Doha: Senegal can now get past the setback of 2018.

Four years after the African champions were booted out of the World Cup in the group stage due to the number of yellow cards they collected, Kalidou Koulibaly helped his team advance to the round of 16 on Tuesday by volleying home the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Ecuador.

In the 70th minute, the Senegal captain's right-footed strike sailed past Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez. Koulibaly ran to the corner flag and knelt down to celebrate.

The outcome wiped away memories from four years prior when Senegal was only able to draw its final group match in Russia and missed the knockout round due to having accrued more yellow cards than Japan, who instead advanced.

Senegal took the lead after Ismaila Sarr's first-half penalty in another must-win game in Qatar. In the 67th minute, Moises Caicedo scored for Ecuador to tie the score at one.

With a draw, Senegal would have been eliminated from Group A and Ecuador would have advanced.

Senegal now has the opportunity to equal or surpass its electrifying run to the semifinals in 2002, when current coach Aliou Cisse was the team's captain and they tied for Africa's best World Cup performance.

Netherlands finished first in Group A, and on Tuesday at the Al Bayt Stadium, they defeated hosts Qatar 2-0 to advance to the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup 2022.

At football's biggest tournament, Qatar, who had already been eliminated, became the first host nation to drop all three of its group games.

With his third goal in as many games, Cody Gakpo gave the Netherlands the lead in the 26th minute. Five minutes into the second half, Frenkie de Jong increased the advantage.

Memphis Depay and Davy Klaassen assisted Gakpo in scoring in the 26th minute with passes, and De Jong reacted quickly in the 50th minute when Depay's close-range attempt was expertly stopped by Qatari goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham.

The Dutch had a goal disallowed because Gakpo was found to have handled the ball during the buildup, but they still cruised to victory since Qatar lacked the talent to stage a comeback.

Three times in a row, the Netherlands have finished second at the World Cup. In 2014, when Qatar was competing in their first World Cup, the Netherlands also came in third.

The Netherlands were unable to make it to the 2018 World Cup.

With input from agencies

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TAGS:NetherlandsFIFA WCEcuadorSenegalQatar News
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