World Cup: Van Dijk aids Netherlands victory, England earn dominant win

NewsWorld Cup: Van Dijk aids Netherlands victory, England earn dominant win

Published 21st November 2022

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk made his major international tournament bow on Monday as the Netherlands claimed victory over Senegal at the World Cup.

The Dutch captain earned a 50th cap for his country and helped his team to open up their campaign in Qatar with a 2-0 win at Al-Thumama Stadium.

Van Dijk played a key role in ensuring a clean sheet in the Group A encounter, with goals from Cody Gakpo and Davy Klaassen securing the spoils.

The Reds centre-back went close on a number of occasions at set-pieces in what was a tight affair, making his presence felt in the air.

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It took until the 84th minute, though, for Louis van Gaal's outfit to break the deadlock thanks to Gakpo's glancing header, while Klaassen found the back of the net deep into added time.

Van Dijk said post-match: "We won but we also know that we can and must do better. Going forward we sometimes tried to force things, and we too often left ourselves exposed to Senegal's counter-attacks.

"That is an area in which we will need to improve because it is an art that our next opponents, Ecuador, are very good at. But I am optimistic because I feel we are going to get better."

Earlier in the day, Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were both named in Gareth Southgate's squad for England's first Group B clash of the tournament, against Iran.

Both remained on the bench for the Three Lions as they ran out 6-2 victors at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Jude Bellingham provided the opener after 35 minutes, helping England surge into a three-goal lead at the break with Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling also on the scoresheet.

Saka again notched after the interval, before substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish struck to put an exclamation mark on the victory late on.

Mehdi Taremi was the man to net two consolations for Iran, with his second coming from the penalty spot at the end of the match.

In the final game of the day, which also came in Group B, Wales earned a late draw against USA.

Making their first World Cup appearance since 1958, Gareth Bale's 82nd-minute penalty secured Rob Page's team a 1-1 draw.

Timothy Weah had earlier opened the scoring at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium with a low finish, though Wales' strike from 12 yards saw the points shared.

Published 21st November 2022